The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra
Chapter 25: The Universal Door of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva
(The Bodhisattva Who Contemplates the Sounds of the World)
The Buddha told Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva, “Good man, if living beings in this land must be saved by means of someone in the body of a Buddha, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva will manifest in the body of a Buddha and speak Dharma for them.”
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Pratyekabuddha, he will manifest in the body of a Pratyekabuddha and speak Dharma for them.”
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Hearer, he will manifest in the body of a Hearer and speak Dharma for them.”
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Brahma King, he will manifest in the body of a Brahma King and speak Dharma for them.”
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of Shakra, he will manifest in the body of Shakra and speak Dharma for them.”
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of the God of Sovereignty, he will manifest in the body of the God of Sovereignty and speak Dharma for them.”
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of the Great God of Sovereignty, he will manifest in the body of the Great God of Sovereignty and speak Dharma for them.”
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a great heavenly general, he will manifest in the body of a great heavenly general and speak Dharma for them.”
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of Vaishravana, he will manifest in the body of Vaishravana and speak Dharma for them.”
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a minor king, he will manifest in the body of a minor king and speak Dharma for them.”
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of an Elder, he will manifest in the body of an Elder and speak Dharma for them.”
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a layman, he will manifest in the body of a layman and speak Dharma for them.”
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a minister of state, he will manifest in the body of a minister of state and speak Dharma for them.”
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Brahman, he will manifest in the body of a Brahman and speak Dharma for them.”
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Bhikshu, Bhikshuni, Upasaka, or Upasika, he will manifest in the body of a Bhikshu, Bhikshuni, Upasaka, or Upasika and speak Dharma for them.”
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of the wife of an Elder, of a layman, of a minister of state, or of a Brahman, he will manifest in a wife’s body and speak Dharma for them.”
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a pure youth or a pure maiden, he will manifest in the body of a pure youth or pure maiden and speak Dharma for them.”
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a heavenly dragon, yaksha, gandharva, asura, garuda, kinnara, mahoraga, human or non-human, and so forth, he will manifest in such a body and speak Dharma for them.”
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Vajra-wielding spirit, he will manifest in the body of a Vajra-wielding spirit and speak Dharma for them.”
I1. Specific answer.
The Buddha told Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva, "Good Man, if living beings in this land--in the three thousand great thousand world system--must be saved by means of someone in the body of a Buddha, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva will manifest in the body of a Buddha and speak Dharma for them."
"But Guanshiyin is a Bodhisattva; he is not a Buddha. How can he manifest as a Buddha? Isn't that just being an impostor?" you ask.
No, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva became a Buddha limitless eons ago. His Buddha name was Proper Dharma Brightness Thus Come One. After becoming a Buddha, he did not forget about living beings. He came back to the world again, hiding the great and manifesting the small. He hid away the Buddha body, and manifested a Bodhisattva body.
Arhats may go from the small to the great, but Guanshiyin Bodhisattva went from the great, from the Buddha position, back to the Bodhisattva position. This is called “putting the boat of compassion in reverse” in order to save living beings. It is similar to "putting the car in reverse."
Guanshiyin Bodhisattva went backwards from Buddhahood into Bodhisattvahood in order to guide living beings, and he hid the great and manifested the small.
If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Pratyekabuddha, he will manifest in the body of a Pratyekabuddha and speak Dharma for them. Pratyekabuddhas are Those Enlightened by Conditions. When the Buddha is in the world, they are called Those Enlightened by Conditions. When there is no Buddha in the world, they are called Solitarily Enlightened Ones.
When the Buddha is in the world, Pratyekabuddhas cultivate the Twelve Causes and Conditions and awake to the Way, and they realize that everything is suffering, impermanent, empty, and without self. Knowing this, they put everything down and gain enlightenment.
When there is no Buddha in the world, they also cultivate the Twelve Causes and Conditions. In the spring they watch the white flowers bloom. In the autumn they watch the yellow leaves fall. Observing the unceasing changes of nature, they wake up to the four marks of conditioned existence--production, dwelling, decay, and emptiness, all of which are impermanent--and they gain enlightenment.
Guanshiyin Bodhisattva observes the causal conditions of living beings. He has the Penetration of the Heavenly Eye and the Penetration of the Heavenly Ear. With the Heavenly Eye he sees afar, and with the Heavenly Ear he hears afar. If he sees a living being who should be saved by a Pratyekabuddha, he manifests as a Pratyekabuddha and speaks the Dharma of the Twelve Causes and Conditions for them.
"Don't you know where your ignorance comes from? It comes from a single thought of non-enlightenment. Your one thought of non-enlightenment produced ignorance in the Treasury of the Thus Come One. With ignorance, there was activity, ..." He speaks the Dharma to that living being.
Having heard the Dharma, this potential Pratyekabuddha quickly gets enlightened. Then Guanshiyin Bodhisattva causes him to bring forth the Bodhisattva resolve and go from the small towards the great.
If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Hearer, he will manifest in the body of a Hearer and speak Dharma for them. The Hearers are Arhats. Those Enlightened by Conditions and Hearers together make up the Two Vehicles. Hearers are those who awakened to the Way when they heard the sound of the Buddha's voice as he taught the Four Holy Truths. The Four Holy Truths are suffering, accumulation, extinction, and the Way.
Shakyamuni Buddha turned the Dharma-wheel of the Four Truths three times for the Five Bhikshus. After he gained enlightenment, the Buddha went to the Deer Park to speak the Dharma for the Five Bhikshus, including Ajnatakaundinya. Ajnatakaundinya and the others were not Bhikshus in the beginning. They only became Bhikshus after the Buddha spoke Dharma for them. The Buddha spoke the Four Truths in three ways.
The first turning is called the Demonstration Turning. He said,
1. “This is suffering. It is oppressive in nature. It is unbearable.”
There are three kinds of suffering: the suffering of suffering; the suffering of decay; and the suffering of process.
There are also the eight kinds of suffering: birth; old age; sickness; death; being separated from what you love; being joined to what you hate; not getting what you want; and the raging blaze of the five skandhas.
Suffering bears down on people to the point that they never know a moment's peace. It pushes people so hard that they cannot breathe. People are oppressed by all kinds of suffering.
2. “This is accumulation. Its nature is to beckon.” Accumulation refers to the amassing of afflictions. Where do afflictions come from? From suffering. One suffers to the point that one cannot stand it, and then one gets angry.
3. “This is extinction. Its nature is that it can be certified to.” One can be certified to the Bliss of Still Extinction, to the wonderful fruit of Nirvana.
4. “This is the Way. Its nature is that it can be cultivated.” Everyone can cultivate the Way. There is not a single person who is not qualified. Everyone can be certified to the principle-substance of Nirvana.
The second turning of the Four Truths is the Certification Turning:
1. This is suffering. I already know it.
2. This is accumulation. I have already cut it off.
3. This is extinction. I have already been certified to it.
4. This is the Way. I have already cultivated it.
Shakyamuni Buddha then spoke the third turning of the Wheel of Four Truths, the Exhortation Turning. He said,
1. This is suffering. You should know it.
2. This is accumulation. You should cut it off.
3. This is extinction. You should certify to it.
4. This is the Way. You should walk it.
He turned the Dharma-wheel of the Four Truths three times. When the Five Bhikshus heard it, they got enlightened. And since they were awakened by the Buddha's sound, they are called Hearers.
The Hearers and Those Enlightened by Conditions are called the Two Vehicles. Those of the Two Vehicles are just the Small Vehicle. What is small about them? What is great about the Great Vehicle?
Basically, nothing is small and nothing is great. Great and small are based on the discriminating thoughts of living beings. Some minds are small, and some are great. Originally, the mind extends to the ends of space and the Dharma Realm. We, however, are not able to use the original Thus Come One's Treasury Nature. Some can use a small part of it; others can use a little more; some can use the entire nature. Those who can use this entire nature are Buddhas. They have returned to the root and gone back to the source. Those who use a large part of it are the Bodhisattvas. Bodhisattvas have great wisdom and so they can utilize more of the treasures of their original home. Those of the Small Vehicle know less, use less, and so are called the Small Vehicle.
If Guanshiyin Bodhisattva meets a living being with the potential of a Hearer, he manifests in the body of a Hearer and speaks the Dharma to save him.
If they must be saved by someone in the body of the Brahma King, he will manifest in the body of the Brahma King and speak Dharma for them. The Brahma King is king in the Great Brahma Heaven. Brahma means pure. He is very independent and free up there.
If they must be saved by someone in the body of Shakra, he will manifest in the body of Shakra and speak Dharma for them. In the Amitabha Sutra, Shakra is referred to as Shakra Devanam Indrah. There are actually many of them. Right now, we know about the Heaven of the Thirty-three here in our world, where our Lord Shakra resides. Most people call him God.
The twenty-seventh line of the Shurangama Mantra goes, "Na mo yin tuo la ye." That is Shakra. He is known and worshipped as Almighty God by most people. This heavenly lord possesses much authority and spiritual penetrations. However, he is still just a resident of heaven and his life will come to an end. Shakra rules all the gods up there and takes care of business in heaven.
Guanshiyin Bodhisattva will use the body of Shakra to save living beings who can be crossed over in that way. He speaks the Dharma to them in the body of Shakra.
It is easy to cross over living beings if you are the same as they are. They are then more likely to accept your teaching. It is easy to be friends with someone in your own line of work. Business people are friends with business people, students with students, Buddhists with Buddhists, gamblers with gamblers, and robbers with robbers. People seek out their own kind. Those of the same kind are called "friends." To teach and transform various people, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva will manifest the same as them.
For example, many of those who have come here to study the Buddhadharma once studied with a certain professor. Perhaps that person is Guanshiyin Bodhisattva appearing as a professor to speak Dharma for scholars. To start with, you did not want to study the Buddhadharma, but he gave you a taste of it and you pursued it. The more you pursued it, the more sense it made, but still you half believed and half did not. Then you came into contact with genuine Buddhism, got to meditate, listen to lectures, and attend the summer study session. Before you knew it, your “half belief and half disbelief” was reduced to mostly believing and a little bit of not believing. You took refuge with the Triple Jewel and took the precepts—some or all of the Five Precepts or maybe the Ten Major and Forty-eight Minor Bodhisattva Precepts. All this happened just because of a causal condition. Do not fail to believe this. Guanyin Bodhisattva manifests in many ways. Sometimes, yes, he just appears, speaks the Dharma, and vanishes. At other times, he might not necessarily use his spiritual powers and beam down a transformation body. He may be born in the world as a person, splitting off part of his soul to go to the world to be a person, study the Buddhadharma, and then teach and transform living beings. He just manifests in that body to teach people.
When someone believes in Guanshiyin Bodhisattva and makes offerings, and relies on the Bodhisattva's Dharma to cultivate, that person turns into Guanshiyin Bodhisattva and Guanshiyin Bodhisattva has just gained a transformation body. We say he has thousands of hundreds of kotis transformation bodies. You can imitate him and then become a transformation body of his.
There are no fixed Dharmas. You should not be attached to things being a certain way. If you want things to be certain, can you arrange to certainly not to have to die? If you can definitely not die, then you can have things fixed the way you like them. But if you cannot and you are sure to die, then nothing is fixed. Therefore, there are no fixed dharmas in the Buddhadharma.
There can be millions of transformation bodies. If a hundred people imitate you, they are your hundred transformation bodies. If a thousand people study with you, you have a thousand transformation bodies. If ten thousand people study with you, learn the doctrines you teach them, and then pass them on to others, who in turn accept and cultivate them, you have ten thousand transformation bodies.
It is not that hard to have a million transformation bodies. All you have to do is resolve to propagate the Buddhadharma, and then you will gain limitless transformation bodies.
That is speaking of it from the viewpoint of specifics. To speak of it from the viewpoint of principle, if you become a Buddha, you can really transform into a million bodies. So Guanshiyin Bodhisattva can manifest in the body of Shakra to speak the Dharma.
If they must be saved by someone in the body of the God of Sovereignty, he will manifest in the body of the God of Sovereignty and speak Dharma for them. The God Sovereignty refers to the heavenly demons and adherents to externalist ways. For example, some religions claim they alone are the highest, and they deny the existence of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. Why? Because they are too happy and independent. Guanshiyin Bodhisattva does not blame them. When he sees their conditions are ripe, he manifests in the body of the God of Sovereignty and speaks the Buddhadharma to gather them in.
If they must be saved by someone in the body of the Great God of Sovereignty, he will manifest in the body of the Great God of Sovereignty and speak Dharma for them.
If they must be saved by someone in the body of a great heavenly general, he will manifest in the body of a great heavenly general and speak Dharma for them.
There are two ways to explain this. You could say this passage refers to a spirit in the heavens who is a great general. You could also say it refers to the gods who have just exhausted their heavenly blessings and are about to fall among human beings to become great generals.
Generals may have a lot of authority, but they may not understand the Buddhadharma. In that case, they may create a lot of karma and have to undergo various kinds of retribution. Guanshiyin Bodhisattva observes the causes and conditions and seeing how they can be saved, manifests as a great general and speaks the Dharma to them. They can then return from confusion and go toward enlightenment, put down all worldly happiness to seek transcendental, inexhaustible bliss.
If they must be saved by someone in the body of Vaishravana, he will manifest in the body of Vaishravana and speak Dharma for them. Vaishravana is one of the Four Heavenly Kings. He rules over the northern continent of Uttarakuru, and his name means "Much Learning."
If they must be saved by someone in the body of a minor king, he will manifest in the body of a minor king and speak Dharma for them. A minor king rules over only one country.
If they must be saved by someone in the body of an Elder, he will manifest in the body of an Elder and speak Dharma for them. Elders have respected names and are mature in years. They have virtue and reputation. Their superiors like them and their subordinates respect them.
Elders do not necessarily have to be old; however, they are usually wealthy and honored and have virtue and wisdom. Elders are very fair-minded and treat everyone with similar kindness. They like to help people. Since they like to help people, they become known as Elders.
If someone should be saved by the body of an Elder, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva will appear as a great wealthy Elder and speak the Dharma for that person. In the Great Compassion Mantra, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva appears as a great, awesome-looking Elder with a long beard.
If they must be saved by someone in the body of a layman, he will manifest in the body of a layman and speak Dharma for them. What is a layman? A layman is a person who lives at home and believes in the Buddhadharma. He keeps the Five Precepts and practices the Ten Good Deeds.
What are the Five Precepts? They are: no killing, no stealing, no sexual misconduct, no lying, and no taking of intoxicants. Now many of you have taken the Five Precepts and are lay people.
The Ten Good Deeds are the opposite of the Ten Evils. Of the Ten Evils, three involve the body: killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct; three involve the mind: greed, hatred, and stupidity; and four involve the mouth: frivolous speech, false speech, abusive speech, and back-biting.
Frivolous speech means talking improperly. Perhaps one talks about women or men, pouring out a lot of irresponsible, deviant, and improper talk. False speech is lying. Abusive speech means scolding and slandering people. Backbiting is when one person has two tongues! How can this happen? He talks one way to one person, and another way to another person. He gossips back and forth and creates schisms among people.
Taken altogether, these are Ten Evils. If you refrain from the Ten Evils, you are practicing the Ten Good Deeds: not killing, not stealing, not committing sexual misconduct; not being greedy, not being hateful, and not being stupid; not speaking in a frivolous manner, not indulging in abusive speech, false speech, or back-biting. Those are the Ten Good Deeds.
So laypeople should keep the Five Precepts and practice the Ten Good Deeds.
Here, there are many laypeople. The Buddhist Lay Society is a place for Buddhist laypeople to come together to investigate the Buddhadharma and protect and support Buddhism. It is the responsibility of laypeople to protect the Triple Jewel, to find ways to promote Buddhism so that it grows and flourishes every day.
Whereas left-home people have the responsibility of propagating the Buddhadharma, laypeople have the responsibility of supporting the Buddhadharma and the Triple Jewel.
This year in America people have taken the Five Precepts, the Eight Precepts, and the Ten Major and Forty-eight Minor Bodhisattva Precepts. The Shurangama Sutra has also been explained. These are all “firsts” for the West. Each one of you is the first to take precepts and hear the Sutras and the Dharma. This makes you founding members of western Buddhism. We are setting up the Buddhist Lay Society, and I hope it improves and attracts more people every day. Not only the people living in that particular house but all American laypeople can work together and investigate the Buddhadharma.
Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, seeing living beings who should be saved by the body of a layman, will manifest in a layman's body and speak Dharma for them.
If they must be saved by someone in the body of a minister of state, a high official, he will manifest in the body of a minister of state and speak Dharma for them.
If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Brahman, he will manifest in the body of a Brahman and speak Dharma for them. Brahmans are a class in India. They practice pure conduct.
If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Bhikshu, Bhikshuni, Upasaka, or Upasika, he will manifest in the body of a Bhikshu, Bhikshuni, Upasaka, or Upasika and speak Dharma for them. A Bhikshu is a man who has left the home-life. Bhikshu is a Sanskrit word which has three meanings: mendicant, frightener of Mara, and destroyer of evil. A Bhikshuni is a woman who has left the home-life, and the same three meanings apply.
An Upasaka is a layman. Upasaka means "close in work." Upasakas work very closely with the Triple Jewel, always bowing to the Buddha and listening to the Dharma. An Upasika is a laywoman who is close to the Triple Jewel. Upasakas and Upasikas serve and protect the Triple Jewel.
Guanshiyin Bodhisattva will manifest in any one of these four kinds of bodies to save these people, speaking Dharma for them.
If they must be saved by someone in the body of the wife of an Elder, of a layman, of a minister of state, or of a Brahman, he will manifest in a wife's body and speak Dharma for them. Guanyin Bodhisattva will manifest in the body of a woman and speak Dharma.
If they must be saved by someone in the body of a pure youth or pure maiden, he will manifest in the body of a pure youth or a pure maiden and speak Dharma for them. “Must” here means that the causes and conditions are such that as a young boy or girl, these living beings can understand the Buddhadharma and cultivate the Way. For example, Weituo Bodhisattva vowed that in every life he would manifest in the body of a pure youth. The Dragon Girl also made a vow to manifest in every life as a pure maiden and never marry.
“Youth” here means that they are still innocent and intact. Once one has sexual contact with the opposite sex, one's body is no longer "complete." In China they call this "ruining the body." Before one has sexual intercourse, one is a virgin.
In Chinese martial arts, there is a practice called "virgin skill." When this practice is accomplished, knives or spears cannot harm one. Inwardly, these practitioners smelt their energy which has not been ruined by intercourse, and they reach a level of skill whereby even knives or guns cannot harm them. Outwardly, they smelt their muscles, sinews, skin, and bones.
One of my disciples took refuge with me for the sole purpose of studying this skill. I taught him to meditate first, and he did. He had some Chan samadhi, but then he started looking into Taoism. He learned how to send a small child out the top of his head, but I do not know how far the small child could go. Lately, he has not been practicing. He said his mother wants him to go back to Hong Kong to get married. He has never even seen the girl before, but the official arrangements have already been made. I told him, "Okay, go and get married. But when you come back, you are not going to be able to study the virgin skill." He smiled!
In Buddhism, young boys and young girls are said to have clean bodies. Young boys belong to the trigram qian, which is yang. Young girls belong to the trigram kun, which is yin. One is pure yang and the other is pure yin. This is a very pure, undefiled state, in which it is possible for one to cultivate to succeed very quickly. If young children can meditate, they can quickly gain the Penetration of the Heavenly Eye, and open their Five Eyes. To "enter the Way as a virgin" is most valuable.
Guanshiyin Bodhisattva observes the causes and conditions, and if he sees someone who is to be crossed over by means of the body of a pure youth or pure maiden, he will manifest in such a body to speak Dharma for them. He will cause them to bring forth the Bodhi resolve, and quickly accomplish the Buddha Way.
If they must be saved by someone in the body of a heavenly dragon, yaksha, gandharva, asura, garuda, kinnara, mahoraga, human or non-human, and so forth, he will manifest in such a body and speak Dharma for them. There are many kinds of dragons. There are dragons in the heavens, dragons in the seas, and treasury-guarding dragons. Heavenly dragons are Dharma protectors in the heavens. Sea dragons live in the dragon palace and are the leaders among all the fish and marine life. There are also dragons who are in charge of making rain. There are dragons in charge of guarding treasuries of jewels that are buried in the earth. In the ancient days, there were many, many dragons. Nowadays people do not see them, so they think they do not exist. Actually, there are many of them.
When the Great Master Sixth Patriarch was at Nanhua Monastery, there was a poisonous dragon who used to spurt out poison. This poison made people sick and some even died from it. The present day Chan Hall at Nanhua Monastery was built over what used to be the pool of this poisonous dragon. The surface area of the pool was about one mou [about one-seventh acre]. Nobody knew how deep it was.
This dragon was not a good dragon; it was poisonous and hurt people. The left-home people at Nanhua Monastery all got sick from it. One time, it manifested spiritual penetrations for the Sixth Patriarch and appeared in a body so big that it filled up the entire pool. When the Sixth Patriarch saw this, he laughed. "Hah!" he said, "You can manifest in a large body, but I bet you cannot manifest in a small body! You are not that talented."
Hearing this challenge, the dragon suddenly hid away its large body and manifested in a small body, about one foot long, skipping on top of the water.
The Sixth Patriarch said, "Oh, you do have some talent. You can be big and small, but I bet you cannot jump into my bowl here!"
When the dragon heard this, it jumped right into the Sixth Patriarch's bowl. "You got in the bowl, but you will not get out!" said the Sixth Patriarch.
The dragon tried every trick it had, but it could not jump out of the bowl. What a dirty trick!
The Sixth Patriarch said, "Do not be so fiesty! How did you turn into a poisonous dragon? In former lives, you cultivated. You had good roots. You heard the Buddhadharma, but your hatred was too strong and your temper too big. This is called 'being quick with the vehicle but slow with the precepts.' You investigated the Buddhadharma very thoroughly but you did not keep the precepts, and so you have fallen into the body of a dragon. You should not think that you are so talented just because you can be big or small. Here you are in my bowl, and you cannot get out."
Hearing this, the dragon was subdued. The Sixth Patriarch then spoke Dharma for it. When it understood the Dharma, it cast off its dragon body. Its little skeleton was preserved at Nanhua Monastery for a long time, but then got lost during the warfare in that area. So that was how the Sixth Patriarch subdued the poisonous dragon.
During the Tang Dynasty there was a minister by the name of Wei Zeng. Although he was an official in human realm, he was also able to go up into the heavens to be a heavenly official. At that time there was a dragon whom everyone called "Little White Dragon." The people asked the dragon to please allow 1.3 inches of rain to fall, but it sent down 1.3 feet of rain and the crops were totally flooded. This was a violation of the heavenly laws, so they called on Wei Zeng to slay the Little White Dragon.
Little White Dragon knew that Wei Zeng was after it and so it appeared in a dream to the Tang Emperor Tai-Zong, and said, "You are a dragon and I am also a dragon. You should save me." [In imperial China, the dragon was the symbol of the emperor.]
The Emperor said, "Since we are both dragons, brother, I will certainly help you out. How can I save you?"
The dragon said, "I made a mistake with the rain and I let too much fall. Tomorrow I am due to receive my retribution and be killed by your Minister Wei Zeng."
"Well, that is easy enough to take care of," said the Emperor. "He is my minister. I will just tell him not to kill you. Do not worry."
The next day the Emperor called Wei Zeng in for a game of chess, thinking that if Wei Zeng was occupied playing chess, he would not be able to kill the dragon. They began their game and around eleven o'clock Wei Zeng fell asleep right in the middle of the game. The Emperor was delighted with this because now he certainly could not kill the dragon.
However, who could have guessed that when Wei Zeng was asleep, his spirit left him, went up to the heaven, grabbed his heavenly sword and killed the dragon! When the spirit came back, Wei Zeng woke up, and they continued their chess game.
Soon it was past noon, the time after which the dragon would be safe. The Emperor was very happy thinking he had saved his brother and probably created great merit and virtue for himself. Who would have guessed that on that very night, Little White Dragon would return to the Emperor, demanding the Emperor's life! "You said you were my brother and would save me. Why didn't you? Your minister killed me and now I want your life! It is just as if you killed me yourself."
When the Emperor woke up, he was petrified. He told Xu Mao Gong about it, and Xu Mao Gong said, "It is not important. There are two people who can stand up to the dragon. They are Qin Qiong, a yellow-faced Heavenly General, and Jing De, a black-faced Heavenly General. If you can get these two to watch the back door, Little White Dragon would not dare come in."
The Emperor then ordered the two of them to stand guard at the door, and sure enough, Little White Dragon did not show up that night. However, the two Great Generals could not watch the door at night forever; it was too exhausting. So pictures of them were painted and pasted outside the back door, and the dragon stayed away. At new years, Chinese people used to put up their pictures beside the doors to keep the demons and ghosts away.
Dragons became dragons because they were "quick with the vehicle and slow with the precepts." They cultivated and were very intelligent. They mastered the Buddhadharma right away. But they did not keep the precepts. Since they were quick with the vehicle, they have spiritual powers and can transform themselves. But because they did not keep the precepts, they have fallen into the bodies of animals. Dragons are animals, you know.
Yakshas are speedy ghosts. They can run faster than rockets.
Gandharvas are musicall spirits. They like to sniff incense and make music. When the Jade Emperor wishes to hear music, he burns some qielan incense or chandana incense and all the gandharvas gather to make music.
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