In my interpretation, the Sangha is the community of people who help you towards Enlightenment, the Dharma are the natural laws of the universe that you need to abide by and pay attention to in order to achieve Enlightenment, and the Buddha is the ultimate model of the Enlightened individual living in the context of Samsara. All three are needed in order to achieve Enlightenment in any realm, form, or time. Once Enlightenment has been achieved by an individual, the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth ceases for that individual. There is no further need, reason, cause, or ability for that individual to suffer any further in Samsara. What remains from that individual is their Buddha essence, which continues to be present and pervade the entirety of the universe, known, unknown, knowable, and unknowable. In this sense, the Buddha has never left our existence, even though Siddharta has ceased to be reborn. We are Buddhas are underneath the filth of suffering. Greed (attachment), ignorance (willful or otherwise), and carelessness (lack of compassion) are intrinsic in Samsara. Yet beneath that is a wondrous presence that is common to us all. We can either acknowledge our own faults, peel away at the interstellar gunk that clouds our minds and hearts, and become that which we are, or we can be lazy, indoctrinated into one of the causes of suffering, and ultimately fail to realize a lasting bliss which characterizes peace of mind, wisdom, awareness, and compassion.
It should be noted that Buddhism is the one way that I can think of that enables one to achieve Buddhahood conscientiously and deliberately. All other religions, philosophies, and ways of life either will get you to better rebirths or to Enlightenment through happenstance and the accumulation of past deeds from many many many different lifetimes. This is similar to how the scientific method is the one way to understand and comprehend the universe beyond the thoughts in your head, which enables one to achieve real results for better or for worse on this plane of existence. All other methods with working with the world may only make you and others feel temporarily better without actually making you better or may allow you to succeed by chance and chance alone. It is the difference between self-medication and substance abuse and taking substances with a medicinal purpose, intent, and under verification from well-versed and knowledgeable clinicians who have made a correct diagnosis of the causes of your suffering. One may help. But it will only help by chance, be not as effective as other methods, or else, do more harm to your well-being than good. The other may likewise have mistakes inflicted upon you. You can still suffer at the hands of even a competent doctor, just as you can suffer at your own hands or an incompetent doctor. But, this other way is what will more likely lead you to being cured of what’s actually afflicting you. The choice is up to you, especially when it comes to you making a choice to put a deliberate, consistent, and sustained effort into making it work.
Only you can liberate yourself from Samsara or make a way out of the suffering that you may presently be in. The essence of the Buddhas, the laws and conditions of the Dharma, and the presence of the Sangha, regardless of the forms or ways that you perceive them are always going to be there to help and will always be present as soon as you think about them. That is the power of Buddhism and the essence of Buddhist philosophy. It is not the gods or even God who will save us and yourself. It is always ultimately going to be up to you to make the world and yourself better. It is you who ultimately fails to accomplish this goal when you neglect the natural laws and conditions of the universe. It is you who ultimately fails when you lack the care, compassion, or wisdom to make things be better for yourself.
I’m sorry that I don’t have happier news to give you. I wish that I could have a magical being to enable us to all be Enlightened and cease to be reborn permanently in this universe. I wish I had such a being for myself, actually, to make it so I would never ever have to come back to Samsara again. But, unfortunately, that is not the case. I am here with you because I made a choice to be here, even in the most subconscious of senses. I came here because I either did something inanely stupid and wrong, or was motivated by an honest, if foolish choice to help all other beings achieve Enlightenment before myself, not realizing that the only way I can be of help to others is to help myself and, paradoxically, let them go and enable them to figure it out for themselves in their own right and in their own ways. I’m not sure whether my exhaustion is from being too old of a soul, being too immature of a soul, or simply being not entirely healthy on what ultimately is a physical level. In any case, I’ll simply abide until my time is come. What else is there to do?
This is just to celebrate this blog reaching 2000 views in less than a year and a half! I would like to thank all of you who made this possible for your time and consideration. I hope you enjoy what I continue to write.
Thank you! 🙂
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.
I hypothesize that the universe is about to go through another split, just as it may have done when the physical universe was born. This time, it may be consciousness that will split on this plane of existence and form into two or more universes. Those who are grounded in reality, who are more compassionate, caring, kind, benevolent, and wise will more likely move in one direction while those who are not really these things will move in another, with room for possibly other branches of the cosmological tree of consciousness to branch off as well. It doesn’t matter if you’re the “last one standing” in this present universe because consciousness, I think, is something that transcends physical death and decay. What does matter is the content of your mind now; the workings, preferences, beliefs, and actions, that will either lead you to becoming more human or move you away to a different form of life elsewhere in the universe for the time being. It is possible to make choices within the bounds of your biological and circumstantial limitations. However, those choices are dependent upon countless past choices, preferences, desires, actions, etc. So, while you have a choice and a possibility to make choices other than what you’ve made in the past, it still is limited by habituation, circumstance, and condition.
I think that the universe is convulsing with something at this moment. And, I think, all that really matters is what you do with the present situation and the present condition that will either ensure that you move on, clarify, advance, and continue on, or, move on to another universe and mental state that will make it harder for you to practice. You have the power, now, to make or break yourself. However, you are limited by all of your past actions, past habits, and present circumstances that you come into touch with through your past actions. Therefore, be kind to yourself, and make that better decision today. If that’s not a good enough reason, then do it for all the people you care about in this lifetime. If that isn’t good enough, do it for all living beings and all of the universe ad infinitum and beyond (which is, ironically, just yourself to begin with).
Enjoy the split.
And that, my friends, is why I will not accept, acknowledge, or entirely embrace any Dharma center or living guru fully in this lifetime. Full disclosure, I am a Shugden supporter. I think that His Holiness is perhaps overreacting to what could have been a bad portend from the oracles that he consults (honestly, I don’t know why His Holiness listens to oracles uncritically anyway, but, this is in line with Dorje Shugden’s role in the universe of consciousness as the enhancer and trainer of perception and wisdom (and, it’s also a historical battle between His Holiness and Dorje Shugen as well, one being essentially an very special human incarnation, the other, being an aspect of Enlightened consciousness in the universe). It makes sense to me that these two would be fighting, one as the supreme teacher and guide amongst humans, the other, being the Supreme Teacher and Guide within the context of the universe. But look at the mess that is created when other beings get consumed by ego in these situations! Look at the mess that is created when both sides persecute another, and gets walled in by ones’ ego! The Sangha is broken up. People get led astray by the faults of the teacher, within the teacher (and themselves). Nothing gets accomplished. All is waste while both sides struggle it out amongst themselves, neither side using reason, sense, or compassion to guide them out of it. What’s worse, is that I know that I am no better than these high monks. I am just human, liable for everything that I do, speak, and think.
I am no better than these people; the best people among us. Look at what they’re capable of doing! Look at the messes that they can create! It honestly scares the willies out of me that I can, and likely will, do no better than these well trained monks, and that I can create suffering for billions, if not whole swaths of the universe, thanks to my actions and my mistakes.
In the end, I am just mortal. The universe is going to inflict upon me what it will, thanks to my past actions and mistakes, and present actions and mistakes. I’m tired of playing a game that I can’t seem to win and will more than likely lose for the sake of everyone and everything. I don’t want to actually hurt anyone, and I sure as Hell do not want to hurt myself through hurting others. There is no separation between myself and everyone else after all.
I’m scared. And I don’t know what to do about it.
We can’t all be monks and nuns. Without them we wouldn’t We can’t all be monks and nuns. Without them we wouldn’t have Dharma teachings. However, without an Enlightened population of lay government officials and people, the monastic Sangha would only have a dampened effect on the world at best. We need a new order of people who understand their place and interests relative to the rest of the population. Otherwise, this world is going to be consumed by its own members, and that will be the end of our chapter in this universe.
I propose the formation of an addition to the Holy Sangha, where people are permitted to, in moderation and without a dependence upon, the worldly comforts of this place and to engage in Dharma practice in their own minds amongst their peers. The idea here is that we have a practical group of Enlightened people who engage practically with this world, to understand it, and to improve the quality of life for humans on the social level. Monks and nuns are trained in ridding themselves and others of their mental afflictions. I think it is time that we address our social, ecological, economic, political, and physical illnesses as well with the same rigor and attentiveness to the truths of our universe on the functional level. This is meant to accelerate all of our abilities to reach Enlightenment. However, at the end of the day, it is up to the indi
vidual person to make that final step to ultimate peace and the ultimate cessation of real suffering.
Thank you very much!
I look forward to hearing comments about this.
What do you all think about my work?
Does it make sense to you all?
Is it any good?
What is its value to you?
How does it make you feel?
Is it influencing how you feel and think about the world around you?
I’m asking this because I feel as though I’m reaching a tipping point, of sorts, and I’m not sure whether or not these feelings that I have are actually justified. I feel as though I am carrying something inside me, and that in due time, it’s going to burst forth into the rest of the world (if it hasn’t already) and alter the way we think, feel, and work with the world, thus altering the very foundation and state of consciousness in the universe itself.
It feels like a purifying fire that’s about to consume me whole and leave me ultimately dead in one form, but reborn in another. I feel as though much hangs on my words and feelings and actions, so I’m very (let’s admit it, insanely) careful about how I’m feeling, thinking, and working with the world. My aim is to get to Truth with a capital “T”; the ultimate and one set of truths about this universe in which we’re living, what some know as the body of Natural Law itself, the rules of our universe, our species, our individual societies, our economies, and the impacts that we actually are having on our environment, and how those impacts actually affect us in return.
It feels as though I’m about to found a Great Sangha (Community) of Lay Persons to work with the world in an ethical, self-interested, and functional manner. The Great Masters of the past developed the practices and methods by which individual human beings can live happy, fulfilled, and resilient, anti-fragile lives. They are of significant importance to keep the Dharma flowing and building, so that the lay community can get its own self organized in such a way that we’re all living in a self-interested, self-preservationist manner relative to ourselves, our groups, and our natural environments. Too long have we labored under the unscientific governance of cowards, idiots, and charlatans who have plundered our economies and environments and ruined their own legacies and polities in the process of behaving cruelly,callously, indifferently, and ignorantly towards the general public and the environments in which we’re all living (including those individuals who ruin the world through their actions). It is time that we get the government actually under the control of those who know, are aware of, and are actually kind and reasonable enough to protect themselves through protecting others through the replacement or edification of those who currently sit in places of consequence, authority, and defacto power and control. It is time that we start diagnosing anti-social and self-harming behavior when it is appropriate to do so, and then intervening in ways that actually help the individuals suffering with afflictions of callousness, carelessness, and ignorance learn to live in more social ways without letting them into the actual halls of power where they do themselves more harm than good.
What do you all think about this?
I’d love to have some verification.
A Sutra (一切如來心祕密全身舍利寶篋印陀羅尼 Sūtra of the Whole-Body Relic Treasure Chest Seal Dhāraṇī The Heart Secret of All Tathāgatas)
Thus I have heard
At one time the Buddha was at the Jewel Brilliance Pond in the Immaculate Garden of the kingdom of Magadha. Surrounding Him were hundreds of thousands of Mahāsattvas, great voice-hearers, gods, dragons, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṁnaras, mahoragas, human, nonhumans, and others. At that time, in the assembly was a great Brahmin named Immaculate Light, who was well educated and intelligent. People delighted in seeing him. Having taken refuge in the Three Jewels, he persistently did the ten good karmas. Benevolent, wealthy, and wise, he intended that other people acquire benefits, great fortune, and prosperity.
Immaculate Light rose from his seat, came to the Buddha, circled Him seven times, and offered the World-Honored One incense and flowers. He also covered the Buddha with priceless wonderful garments, necklaces, and tiaras of gems. After bowing down at the Buddha’s feet, he stepped back to one side and said, “I pray that the World-Honored One and the huge assembly will come to my house tomorrow morning to accept my offerings.
The Buddha gave him permission in silence. Knowing that the Buddha had accepted his invitation, the Brahmin hurried home. In the evening, he ordered extensive preparation of food and drink of one hundred flavors for the banquet. Water was sprinkled, the halls were swept clean, and canopies and banners were set up.
In the next morning, carrying incense, flowers, and musical instruments, together with his retinue, the Brahmin came to the Buddha. He said, “The time has come, and I pray that the World-Honored One will grace my house.”
The Buddha greeted the Brahmin Immaculate Light with kind words and made an announcement to the huge assembly: “All of you should go to this Brahmin’s home to accept his offerings, for the purpose of letting him receive great benefits.”
Then the World-Honored One rose from His seat. As the Buddha stood up, His body emitted all kinds of radiance with intermingled wonderful colors, illuminating and filling the space in the ten directions. Being thus alerted, all set off on the road. Respectfully escorting the Buddha, the Brahmin carried wonderful incense and flowers with a reverent heart. He led the way, along with his retinue, the Brahma-kings, the god-king Śakra, the four god-kings, and the eight classes of Dharma protectors, such as gods and dragons.
The World-Honored One, having traveled not too far on the road, came to a garden called Abundant Wealth. In that garden were the ruins of an ancient pagoda, dilapidated and collapsed. With the courtyard covered by thistles and the doors sealed by creeping weeds, the rubble resembled a mound of dirt. The Buddha went straight to the pagoda. Forthwith, the pagoda issued vast, bright light, illuminating and glowing. A voice from the heap of earth praised, “Very good! Very good! Śākyamuni, Your action today is excellent! And you, Brahmin, will receive great benefits today!”
The World-Honored One paid respects to the ruined pagoda by circling it clockwise three times. He took off His upper garment, placed it over the pagoda, and wept tears with blood. He then smiled. Meanwhile, all Buddhas [in worlds] in the ten directions, looking on together, also shed tears, each emitting light to illuminate this pagoda. The multitude was so astonished as to lose their color, and they all wanted to resolve their bewilderment.
Vajrapāṇi and other Bodhisattvas also shed tears. Twirling his vajra in glowing flames, he came to the Buddha. He asked, “World-Honored One, through what causes and conditions does this radiance manifest? Why did the Tathāgata’s eyes shed these tears? And why do Buddhas [in worlds] in the ten directions emit vast auspicious light? I pray that the Tathāgata will resolve my bewilderment.”
The World-Honored One replied to Vajrapāṇi, “This great treasure pagoda of accumulated whole-body relics of Tathāgatas contains innumerable koṭis of the heart dhāraṇīs, the secret seal of the essentials of the Dharma of all Tathāgatas. Vajrapāṇi, because of the essentials of the Dharma contained in it, the pagoda has become tiered seamlessly like sesame seeds. The bodies of 100,000 koṭi Tathāgatas are also like sesame seeds. Contained in the pagoda is the accumulation of the whole-body relics of 100,000 koṭi Tathāgatas and even the store of 84,000 Dharmas. Also contained in it are 99 billion koṭi Tathāgata-crowns. Because of these wondrous things, the site of this pagoda has superb, awesome virtue and serves as a spiritual testament. It can fill the entire world with auspicious events.”
When the multitude heard the Buddha’s words, they shunned dust and filth [their afflictions] and acquired the pure dharma-eye. Because the capacities of the multitude were so varied, each received a different benefit. Some became Pratyekabuddhas; some achieved voice-hearer fruits, becoming Srotāpannas, Sakṛdāgāmins, Anāgāmins, or Arhats. On the Bodhisattva Way, some achieved the level of avinivartanīya or acquired sarvajña; some attained the First Ground, Second Ground, or even the Tenth Ground; and some fulfilled the six pāramitās. The Brahmin shunned dust and filth [his afflictions], and acquired the five transcendental powers.
Witnessing these unprecedented occurrences, Vajrapāṇi exclaimed, “World-Honored One, how wonderful and how extraordinary! If people acquire such excellent merit by merely hearing about this matter, how much more merit will they acquire if they hear the profound truth and elicit their faith with an earnest mind?”
The Buddha replied, “Hearken! Vajrapāṇi. In future times, if, among male believers, female believers, and my four groups of disciples, there are those who are inspired to copy this sūtra, they in effect copy all the sūtras pronounced by 99 billion koṭi Tathāgatas. Their merit will surpass the roots of goodness they have been planting for a long time in the presence of 99 billion koṭi Tathāgatas. All Tathāgatas will support, protect, and remember them in the same way as they cherish their own eyes or as loving mothers care for their young children. If a person recites this short sūtra, he in effect recites all the sūtras pronounced by Buddhas of the past, present, and future. For this reason, 99 billion koṭi Tathāgatas, also called Arhats, Samyak-Saṁbuddhas, will come, jam-packed sideways without any gap between them, like sesame seeds in a pile. Day and night they will appear and support that person. Thus, all Buddha-Tathāgatas, who are as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, will come. The first group of them has not yet left, and the next has arrived. They all instantly move away and return again, like fine sands whirling in quick water. Incessantly, they come again as soon as they turn away. If a person makes offerings of incense, flowers, solid perfumes, garlands, garments, and wonderful ornaments to this sūtra, he in effect makes an entire offering, before 99 billion koṭi Tathāgatas [in worlds] in the ten directions, of divine incense, flowers, garments, and ornaments made of the seven treasures, all piled high like Mount Sumeru. Planting one’s roots of goodness can be accomplished in the same way.”
Having heard these words, the eight classes of Dharma protectors, such as gods and dragons, as well as humans, nonhumans, and others, filled with wonder, said to one another, “How marvelous is the awesome virtue of this old pile of earth! Its miraculous manifestation must have been caused by the spiritual power of the Tathāgata.”
Vajrapāṇi next asked the Buddha, “World-Honored One, through what causes and conditions does this pagoda made of the seven treasures now manifest as a pile of dirt?”
The Buddha replied to Vajrapāṇi, “This is not a pile of dirt, but a wonderful, great treasure pagoda. It is hidden because of the inferiority of sentient beings’ karmic fruits. Although the pagoda is hidden, the bodies of the Tathāgatas are indestructible. How could the vajra-store bodies of the Tathāgatas be destroyed? After I have abandoned my body, the ending of the Dharma will be unrelenting in future times. Sentient beings that act against the Dharma are bound to fall into hell because they neither believe in the Three Jewels nor plant any roots of goodness. For this reason, the Buddha Dharma should be hidden. But this pagoda will still be solid and will not be demolished because it is supported by the spiritual power of all Tathāgatas. However, ignorant beings, covered and obstructed by their delusion, not knowing how to unearth and use the treasure, simply leave it buried. For this reason, I now shed tears, and other Tathāgatas shed tears as well.”
The Buddha then told Vajrapāṇi, “If a person copies this sūtra and enshrines the copy in a pagoda, this pagoda will then become the vajra-store stūpa of all Tathāgatas and the stūpa supported by the heart secret of the dhāraṇī of all Tathāgatas. It will become the stūpa of 99 billion koṭi Tathāgatas and the Buddha-crown and Buddha-eye stūpa of all Tathāgatas, and it will be protected by their spiritual power. If you enshrine this sūtra inside a Buddha statue in a stūpa, the statue will in effect be made of the seven treasures. This statue will be so efficacious and responsive that one’s wishes will be fulfilled without exception.
“According to your ability, construct for a stūpa these things: canopies, nets, columns, dew-catching wheels, fine eaves, bells, foundations, or steps. Whether you use earth, wood, stones, or bricks, they will turn into the seven treasures because of the awesome power of this sūtra. Moreover, all Tathāgatas will increase the power of this sūtra. Keeping a sincere promise, they support it incessantly.
“If a sentient being makes obeisance and gives an offering of only a little incense and one flower to this pagoda, his grave sins, which would entail 80 koṭi kalpas of life and death, will all be expunged at once. He will be free from catastrophes during his life and, after death, be reborn in a Buddha family. Even for a person who should fall into Avīci Hell, if he only makes one obeisance to the pagoda or circles it clockwise once, the door to hell will be blocked and the bodhi road will be opened.
“Furthermore, the place of the pagoda or of its image will be protected by the spiritual power of all Tathāgatas. The place will not be damaged by hurricanes and lightning bolts. It will be neither disturbed by venomous snakes, vipers, scorpions, or other poisonous insects, nor harmed by lions, rampaging elephants, tigers, wolves, jackals, or other animals. It will be free from the terror of yakṣas, rakṣasas, pūtanas, piśācas, spirits, monsters, and epilepsy. It will not be troubled by diseases, such as chills, fevers, skin ulcers, carbuncles, scabies, or psoriasis. One can avert all disasters by seeing the pagoda briefly. At the place of the pagoda, horses, six kinds of livestock, and people, including young boys and girls, will not be plagued by epidemics. They will not die unnatural, accidental deaths, nor be harmed by knives, clubs, flood, or fire. They will not be attacked by bandits or enemies, and they will have no worries about famine or poverty. They will not be subject to the power of sorcery or curses. The four great god-kings and their retinues will protect them day and night. In addition, the twenty-eight classes of yakṣa generals, the sun, the moon, the five planets, and cloudlike comets will protect them day and night. All dragon-kings will increase their vital energy and bring rainfall at the right time. All gods, including those in Trayastriṁśa Heaven, will descend during the three periods of the day to make offerings. All fairies will gather during the three periods to circle the pagoda, sing songs of praise, give thanks, and pay respects. The god-king Śakra and goddesses will descend during the three periods of the day to make offerings. The place will be remembered and supported by all Tathāgatas. Such will be the pagoda because it contains this sutra.
“If people build a pagoda using earth, stone, wood, gold, silver, bronze, and lead, and if they copy this spiritual mantra and enshrine the copy in the pagoda, then as soon as it is enshrined, the pagoda will in effect be made of the seven treasures. The upper and lower steps, dew-catching wheels, canopies, bells, and columns will all be made of the seven treasures. Also, the four sides of the pagoda will have the images of Tathāgatas. Because of the essentials of the Dharma, all Tathāgatas will firmly protect and support the pagoda, staying in it day and night without departing. Because of the awesome power of the mantra, the pagoda made of the seven treasures, which contains the wonderful treasure of the whole-body relics, will soar up into the midst of the palaces in Akaniṣṭha Heaven. Wherever a pagoda stands like a mountain, all gods will view it with reverence, stand guard, and make offerings day and night.”
Vajrapāṇi asked, “Through what causes and conditions has this Dharma such superb virtue?
The Buddha replied, “Because of the spiritual power of this Treasure Chest Seal Dhāraṇī.”
Vajrapāṇi said, “I pray that the Tathāgata, out of compassion for us all, will pronounce this dhāraṇī.”
The Buddha responded, “Hearken, contemplate, and do not forget it! The radiance of the copies of the bodies of all Tathāgatas of the present and the whole-body relics of all Buddhas of the past are contained in this Treasure Chest Seal Dhāraṇī. The three bodies of every Tathāgata are also in it.”
Then the Buddha pronounced the dhāraṇī: “namas tryadhvikānāṁ sarva tathāgatānāṁ | oṁ bhuvi-bhavana-vare | vacana-vacati suru suru dhara dhara | sarva tathāgata dhātu dhare | padmaṁ bhavati jaya vare mudre | smara tathāgata dharma-cakra pravartana vajre bodhimaṇḍālaṁkārālaṁkṛte | sarva tathāgatādhiṣṭhite | bodhaya bodhaya bodhi bodhi | budhya budhya saṁbodhani saṁbodhaya | cala cala calantu | sarvāvaraṇāni sarva pāpa vigate | huru huru sarva śoka vigate | sarva tathāgata hṛdaya vajriṇi | saṁbhāra saṁbhāra | sarva tathāgata guhya dhāraṇī-mudre | bhūte subhūte | sarva tathāgatādhiṣṭhita dhātu garbhe svāhā | samayādhiṣṭhite svāhā | sarva tathāgata hṛdaya dhātu mudre svāhā | supratiṣṭhita stūpe tathāgatādhiṣṭhite huru huru hūṁ hūṁ svāhā | oṁ sarva tathāgatoṣṇīṣa dhātu mudrāṇi | sarva tathāgata sadhātu vibhūṣitādhiṣṭhite hūṁ hūṁ svāhā”
After the Buddha finished reciting this spiritual mantra, all the Buddha-Tathāgatas in the pile of earth voiced their praises: “Very good! Very good! Śākya the World-Honored One, You have appeared in this turbid, evil world to expound the profound Dharma for the benefit of sentient beings that have nothing and nobody to depend upon. Therefore, the essentials of the Dharma will long remain in the world, bringing wide, abundant benefits and joyful peace.”
Then the Buddha told Vajrapāṇi, “Hearken! Hearken! The essentials of this Dharma have inexhaustible spiritual power and boundless benefits! It is like a wish-fulfilling jewel atop a cylindrical banner, constantly raining down treasures and fulfilling all wishes. Next, I will briefly describe one ten-thousandth of these boundless benefits. You should remember and uphold it for benefiting all sentient beings.
“If an evil man after death falls into hell, he must suffer uninterruptedly, not knowing when release will come. However, if his descendants say his name and then recite this spiritual mantra, upon completion of only seven repetitions, the molten copper and burning iron in hell will suddenly change into pond water with the eight virtues. This man will have a lotus flower supporting his feet and a jeweled canopy over his head. The door of hell will break and the Bodhi Way will open. His lotus flower will fly him to the Land of Ultimate Bliss. There, his knowledge of all knowledge will spontaneously unfold. Delighting in expounding the Dharma endlessly, he will be ready to attain Buddhahood in his next life.
“Moreover, a person who, with a heavy heart, suffers from 100 diseases as requital for his grave sins should recite this spiritual mantra twenty-one times. Then 100 diseases and 10,000 distresses will be eliminated at once. His lifespan will be lengthened, and his fortune and merit will become immeasurable.
“Suppose a person has been born into a poor family because of his karma of greed and stinginess. His clothes cannot cover his body and his food cannot sustain his life. Emaciated and haggard, he is despicable to others. This person, ashamed of himself, goes to the mountain and plucks wild flowers not owned by anyone. He grates rotten wood for incense powder. Then he goes to the pagoda to make obeisance and offerings, circling it seven times, repenting in tears. Because of the power of this spiritual mantra and the awesome virtue of the pagoda, his poverty requital will end and fortune will suddenly arrive. The seven treasures will appear like abundant rain. However, at this time, he should give to the poor and needy, completely honoring the Buddha Dharma. If he is reluctant to give, his riches will suddenly vanish.
“Suppose a person, planting roots of goodness for himself, builds a pagoda at his pleasure, using earth or bricks that he can afford. The pagoda is as big as a mango, its height about four finger lengths. He copies this spiritual mantra and enshrines the copy in the pagoda. Then he makes obeisance and offers incense and flowers. Because of the power of the mantra and his faithful heart, vast, fragrant clouds will come out of the little pagoda. The fragrance and the light of the clouds will pervade the dharma realm, widely doing Buddha work with fragrance and radiant clouds. The benefits he will receive are as I have just stated. In sum, all his wishes will be fulfilled without exception. During the Dharma-ending age, if, among my four groups of disciples, good men, and good women, there are those who, following the unsurpassed Way, do their best to build pagodas and enshrine this mantra in them, I cannot finish describing the merit they will acquire.
“If a person goes to the pagoda to ask for fortune, he should make obeisance and offer a flower and a little incense to the pagoda, and circle it clockwise. Because of his virtuous act, rank and glory will arrive unsought. Longevity and prosperity will increase without effort. Foes and bandits will fall without being subjugated. Vengeful thoughts and curses will return to their source without resistance. Epidemics and evil forces will be turned away without need of being purged. A good husband or good wife will come without being persuaded. Beautiful good children will be born without being prayed for. All wishes will be fulfilled at will.
“Even for ravens, owls, turtledoves, hawks, wolves, jackals, mosquitoes, ants, and the like, which momentarily come into the shadow of the pagoda and step on the grass there, their affliction-hindrances will be annihilated, and they will recognize their ignorance. They will suddenly enter a Buddha family and freely receive Dharma wealth. Even more are the benefits to humans who have seen the form of the pagoda, heard its bell tolling, heard its name, or been in its shadow. Their hindrances caused by sin will all be annihilated, and their wishes fulfilled. Their present lives will be peaceful, and they will be reborn in the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss.
“If a person, without extra effort, applies a glob of mud to the damaged wall of a pagoda or uses a fist-sized stone to support a leaning pagoda, because of this virtuous act, his fortune will increase and his lifespan will be lengthened. After death, he will be reborn as a Wheel-Turning King.
“After I have abandoned my body, my four groups of disciples, in order to rescue sentient beings in miserable existence, should come before this pagoda, make offerings of incense and flowers, and recite this spiritual mantra, making vows in earnest. Each and every mantra word and phrase [they utter] will radiate vast, bright light, illuminating the three evil life-journeys to end all suffering. Once those sentient beings are delivered from suffering, their Buddha seed will germinate. They will then be reborn as they wish in Pure Lands in the ten directions.
“If a person recites this mantra earnestly on the top of a high mountain, all sentient beings within the scope of his sight, including those in furs, feathers, scales, and shells, residing near and far in mountain valleys, forests, streams, lakes, rivers, and oceans, will annihilate their affliction-hindrance and recognize their ignorance. They will realize their three Buddha natures and eventually attain the great nirvāṇa. If people walking the same road as this person are touched by the wind blown through his clothes, step on his footprints, see his face, or converse with him briefly, their grave sins will all be expunged and their siddhis perfected.”
The Buddha then said to Vajrapāṇi, “I now entrust this secret spiritual mantra and this sūtra to you all. Revere, protect, uphold, and disseminate them in the world. Do not allow the transmittal [of the Dharma] to end for sentient beings.”
Vajrapāṇi said, “I am honored to receive the trust of the World-Honored One. I pray only that we will requite the World-Honored One for his profound grace, day and night protecting, upholding, disseminating, and pronouncing [the mantra and the sūtra] to the world. If there are sentient beings that copy, uphold, and remember them unceasingly, we will command the Brahma-kings, the god-king Śakra, the four great god-kings, and the eight classes of Dharma protectors to protect them day and night without leaving even temporarily.”
The Buddha said, “Very good! Vajrapāṇi, for the benefit of all sentient beings of the future, protect and uphold this Dharma, and make it endless.”
After the World-Honored One pronounced this Treasure Chest Seal Dhāraṇī and widely did His Buddha work, he went to the Brahmin’s home and accepted his offerings, causing humans and gods to receive great benefits. Then he returned to the place where He was staying.
During that time the bhikṣus, bhikṣuṇīs, upāsakas, upāsikās, gods, dragons, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṁnaras, mahoragas, humans, nonhumans, and others in the assembly greatly rejoiced. They all believed in, accepted, and reverently carried out the teachings.
—Sūtra of the Whole-Body Relic Treasure Chest Seal Dhāraṇī,
the Heart Secret of All Tathāgatas
Translated from the digital Chinese Canon (T19n1022B)
May all beings be conquered by truth, care, and love within themselves.
May all beings be happy.
I’ve been living a somewhat monkish (of the Buddhist variety) lifestyle imperfectly for the past few years now. I can’t say at the moment whether or not I’m actually better off for it. On one hand, it’s nice having the independence of a traveler. On the other hand, a home and family to call my own also seems very nice. Each one comes with a trade-off, that much I know. It’s always confused me why and how those who are arguably some of the best people who walk this planet. After all, the rest of the human society has to exist in order to support them and their main practices; without the successful reproduction of a large portion of the population (and I mean producing well adjusted and generally good people as a key part of that reproduction), the monastic lifestyle as we know it would be impossible to support and maintain. Therefore, why shouldn’t I be able to help out the Sangha (and support that part of my life that I feel as though I’d like to have)?
I think I know what I would like. The trouble is whether or not I’m going to be able to have it. Life, after all, is full of many pitfalls. As a friend of mine said, long time ago, “always forward, and never straight.” It’s a messy thing that plays by its own rules and doesn’t give two honest shits about how you, or anyone else, feels about it. All is going to end anyway, that much is certain. A shame that it’s so difficult for those who mean well and feel deeply about this place (and themselves within it).
In Buddhism, our bodhisattva Avaloktishvara, the symbol and state of Supreme Compassion, is said to be what all other religions, especially in the Abrahamic tradition, know as God. In Buddhism, there is no Creator being, because all beings arise out of interdependence and have no singular “beginning” or “end” point. Those two opposite concepts, indeed, the whole range of concepts that are dual, is considered to be, in fact, one and the same things in essence and dependent upon our own conceptions of these things, which are not absolute and are only as lasting as you allow them to be.
In spite of being the emanation of Supreme Compassion, Avaloktishvara has a wrathful side, known as Mahakala. This is your mother scolding you for touching a hot radiator when you were little, or yelling at you in an effort to protect and teach you in such a way as to effectively get your attention and correct your behavior for your own sake and benefit. This excludes moments when she could just be screaming at you because she’s just mean (which could be the case). In this case, I think that her behavior can ultimately be interpreted as a means for you to learn unconditional compassion for someone who brought you into this world and is suffering just as we all are, perhaps in ways that are greater than you can imagine (if you’re going to follow a correct path to Enlightenment).
Let’s hope that the experiences we’re about to go through are ultimately the effects of Mahakala working his magic on the world, to get us back on track as a species and to hopefully eliminate the suffering that is in the hearts and minds of those who are causing our whole world (and their own world) considerable harm and damage.
Let us hope that the moment becomes ripe for us to make our move against the idiotic, the misers, and the callous individuals who inhabit and control our world by default. Never be moved by the crocodile tears they’re going to shed, brought on in a moment of panic and desperation more than out of anything sincere and genuine.
They really don’t work on the same plane as the rest of us. That is how I know they’re mentally diseased at best by the illusions of wealth, well-being, and power that they think they have as a result of their poorly chosen and poorly prioritized actions.
Supreme rationality my foot! They’re just Ignoratti, out to “conquer” the world at the barrel of a gun and for the sake of things they don’t really need (and shouldn’t really want) to begin with.
Down with the Ignoratti and all those who follow them through their actions!
It’s already been done. It’s just a matter of time.