The Shurangama Mantra--The Efficacious Language of Heaven and Earth
An Instructional Talk by
Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
...In the past,
Great Master Hongren, the Fifth Patriarch, was cultivating in Hubei at East
Mountain. He upheld the precepts strictly and cultivated with unusual intensity.
Once when a group of bandits surrounded the city of Hubei, Great Mater Hongren
could bear it no longer and decided to try to save the people in that city. He
came down the mountain and walked into that city. As soon as the bandits saw
Great Master Hongren coming, they were terrified, dropped their armor and
weapons, and fled. Why? Because although Great Master Hongren came alone into
the city, the bandits saw an army of heavenly generals and heavenly troops clad
in golden armour. It was as if the gods themselves had come down to earth--all
donning golden armour and carrying jeweled swords and other awesome weapons.
That's what caused the bandits to retreat in such haste. And so, without the use
of a single knife, spear, or arrow, he routed the bandits. It was because Great
Master Hongren recited the Shurangama Mantra that the bandits found him to be so
terrifying. You could say that was a manifestation created by the Vajra Treasury
Bodhisattvas or you could say it was the awesome virtue of Great Master Hongren
that frightened them. That a cultivator was able to frighten the bandits into
retreat without the use of a single soldier or weapon is verification of his
genuine skill. How else could there have been such a response in the Way?
Shakyamuni Buddha proclaimed the Shurangama Mantra in order to protect of all of us who have brought forth the initial resolve to study the Way; to aid us in attaining samadhi; to help us be at peace in body and mind; and to keep us out of trouble. Therefore we should never forget this Dharma. We should recite and uphold the Shurangama Mantra with single-minded sincerity. By doing so we are helping to perpetuate the Buddhadharma, to keep the Proper Dharma long in the world.
A Sure Sign of the Proper Dharma