The Greatly Compassionate [Avalokiteshvara] Bodhisattva Who Observes the World's Sounds
(Part 1 of 2)
A Talk by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
Based on the text from [Moon in the] Water-[Flowers in a] Mirror Turning Back the Tide of Destiny
Composed by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua on October 3, 1986
Why is he called the Greatly Compassionate Bodhisattva Who Observes the World's Sounds? He practices
"kindness, which can give others bliss, and
compassion, which can eradicate their suffering."
That is to say, whatever sentient beings like, he helps them to attain.
Bodhisattva Who Observes with Self-Mastery: Doesn't the Heart Sutra state, "When the Bodhisattva Who Observes with Self-Mastery [Avalokiteshvara] was practicing the profound Prajnaparamita"? You have to observe with self-mastery, not mastery of others. If you never indulge in random thoughts, then you are observing with self-mastery. If you have lots of random thoughts, then you are observing without self-mastery.
Limitless eons ago, a very long time
ago, too long ago to reckon, he
With a resolve of great compassion, because he made a great compassionate vow, he turned the ship of compassion around, that is, he concealed the great and manifested the small. He has already become a Buddha, but now he m/anifests as a Bodhisattva, transforming into the Bodhisattva Who Observes the World's Sounds (Guanshiyin).
And came back to the Saha World. He has returned to this world of five turbidities which is a place of extreme suffering. It is called "Saha," which means "able to endure."
Hearing their sounds, he rescues those who are in suffering. No matter who you are and what kind of distress you are in, you can recite the name of the Greatly Compassionate Bodhisattva Who Observes the World's Sounds (Dabei Guanshiyin), and hearing your voice, he will come to alleviate your suffering.
As it is said,
"Prayers depart a thousand hearts;
in a thousand hearts he answers.
Sailing the sea of suffering,
he constantly crosses people over."
Wherever people are praying to him, reciting Guanshiyin Bodhisattva's name, he will surely go to rescue them. In this Saha World, in this sea of suffering, he frequently acts as a ship to take people across.
Those who sincerely recite his name are saved. You have to recite his name with great sincerity and concentration. Isn't it said, "Faithful ones are saved"? This is a case where the faithful receive salvation.
He rescues those in the seven difficulties. The seven difficulties are those presented by fire, flood, rakshasas, knives and clubs, ghosts, shackles and chains, thieves, windstorms, the law, and epidemics.
Generally speaking, there are more than seven difficulties. For example, there are all the car collisions. People often come and tell me that because they always recite Guanshiyin Bodhisattva's name, even when their cars were totalled in a crash, they themselves escaped without injury. There have been many miraculous cases like this.
He neutralizes the three poisons. The three poisons are greed, hatred and stupidity. It's said that if a greedy person frequently recites the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva and pays homage, he will be able to free himself from greed.
If a person with a big temper frequently recites the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva and pays homage, he will be able to reduce or even extinguish his temper.
If a person who is stupid can frequently recite the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva and pay homage, he will not be stupid anymore.
And he responds to the two prayers. The two prayers refer to prayers for a son or a daughter. If you pray for a boy, you will have a boy with handsome and fine features. If you pray for a girl, you will have an intelligent and attractive girl.
When the Bodhisattva was on the First Ground (the Ground of Joy), the first of the Ten Grounds, he met King of a Thousand Lights Thus Come One, who rubbed his crown with his purple-golden hand. King of a Thousand Lights Buddha was very kind and transmitted the Great Compassion Spiritual Mantra to him.
Then that Buddha rubbed his crown with his purple-golden hand, and he instantaneously reached the Eighth Ground, the Ground of Motionlessness.
Joyful and delighted, he made the resolve. He was very happy, and he vowed before King of a Thousand Lights Buddha, "If I can benefit living beings in the future, then cause me to immediately manifest a thousand hands and a thousand eyes."
After the vow was made, the entire earth shook in six ways. The six ways are shaking, roaring, striking, moving, surging and rising.
To be continued....
Vajra Bodhi Sea No. 291