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The Ear Organ
VOLUME 5, Chapter 2
Gwan Shi Yin Bodhisattva
Sixth: when the hearing permeates and the essence is bright, light pervades the dharma-realm, so that absolutely no darkness remains. I am then able to make it so that, though yakshas, rakshasas, kumbhandas, pishachas, and putanas may draw near to living beings, the ghosts will not be able to see them.
Sixth: when the hearing permeates and the essence is bright, that is, when the skill of returning the hearing to hear the selfnature is perfected, light pervades the dharma-realm, so that absolutely no darkness remains. The darkness disappears. I am then able to make it so that, though yakshas, rakshasas, kumbhandas, pishachas, and putanas may draw near to living beings, the ghosts will not be able to see them. "Yakshas" are male ghosts, "rakshasas" are female ghosts. Both kinds are extremely fierce. Their diet consists of human corpses. They have certain mantras which are powerful enough to remove the stench of the corpse so they can stand to eat the flesh.
"Kumbhanda" is also the name of a king of ghosts. Kumbhanda are shaped like barrels and give people nightmares. For instance, when people are asleep they may see a weird apparition; though in their dream they are mentally alert, they can't move physically. They become paralyzed through the efforts of the nightmare ghosts. Sometimes, if a person's yang energies are weak and his yin energies prevail, the person can be paralyzed for a long time, and the ghost can eventually cause the person's death. This kind of ghost abounds in this world.
"Pishachas" are ghosts that eat human essence and energy and also the essence of grains. "Putanas" are "rulers of fevers." They can cause people to get sick and have a fever. If you cultivate the skill of returning the hearing to hear the self-nature, or if you recite the name of Guan Yin Bodhisattva, then these ghosts cannot see you, though they may come right up beside you, because you emit light which they fear. Actually, owls and bats can see at any time. Since the ghosts belong to yin, they cannot see you if you have yang light. They can only find you if you give off yin energy.
Seventh: when the nature of sound completely melts away and contemplation and hearing return and enter, so that I am separate from false and defiling sense-objects, I am able to make it so that if living beings are confined by cangues and fetters, the locks will not hold them.
Seventh: when the nature of sound completely melts away and contemplation and hearing return and enter, so that I am separate from false and defiling sense-objects. There is no sound, and even the nature of sound disappears when one returns the act of contemplating and listening back to oneself. One leaves behind the defiling sense objects and all false thinking. Then I am able to make it so that if living beings are confined by cangues and fetters, the locks will not hold them. If you recite the name of Guan Yin Bodhisattva, the locks fall open by themselves. This happens quite often; a lot of people have had this experience. It's not just a manner of speaking. If people sincerely recite the name of Guan Yin Bodhisattva, there can be responses like this.
Once there was a person who committed a crime and was put in jail. He and seven or eight other prisoners recited the name of Guan Yin Bodhisattva. How did he know about doing that? He knew a monk and had asked the monk to save him from his plight. The monk had said, "If you want me to save you, you must singlemindedly recite the name of Guan Yin Bodhisattva; then you will be able to get out of this predicament."
The prisoner recited Guan Yin Bodhisattva's name for three days and three nights and then the locks on his cangue and chains spontaneously opened and he was free to go. But he did not go. "What meaning would there be in my going if the others have to stay here?" was his thought. So he taught the others to recite the name of Guan Yin Bodhisattva. After two more days of recitation, the locks on the other prisoners also fell away. They all returned to their homes. After that, they singlemindedly recited the name of Guan Yin Bodhisattva; they recited so sincerely that they caused everyone in the village to take up the practice as well.
Eighth: when sound is gone and the hearing is perfected, an all-pervasive power of compassion arises, and I can make it so that if living beings are travelling a dangerous road, thieves will not rob them.
Eighth: when sound is gone and the hearing is perfected, an all-pervasive power of compassion arises. The sounds of the mundane world cease, and by turning the hearing back to hear the self-nature, one's hearing is perfected, which means that without using the mind to cognize the hearing, one can hear all sounds. I can make it so that if living beings are travelling a dangerous road, thieves will not rob them.
Q2 Fearlessness with the three poisons.
Ninth: when one is permeated with hearing, one separates from worldly objects, and forms cannot rob one. Then I can make it so that living beings with a great deal of desire can leave greed and desire far behind.
The ninth fearlessness is to be separate from greed and desire. When one is permeated with hearing, one separates from worldly objects, and forms cannot rob one. If one cultivates day after day until the skill of returning the hearing to hear the selfnature is perfected, one can be apart from all superficial states. In particular, one can separate from the realm of the defiling objects of form.
People should not think that beautiful forms are good to get involved with. If you love a beautiful form, it will plunder the treasures of your household. It will take your most ancient and valuable gems and steal them away from you. Rather, it should be that:
Eyes contemplate the shapes of forms,
but inside there is nothing.
Ears hear the worldly sounds,
but the mind does not know.
When you see a beautiful form, your attitude of mind should be that it is as if you had not seen it. If you see a beautiful form and your mind moves, ask yourself why your mind didn't move before you saw it. Don't let forms rob you of the wealth of your household. Guan Yin Bodhisattva says: I can make it so that living beings with a great deal of desire can leave greed and desire far behind.
A passage in the "Chapter on the Universal Door of Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva" of the Lotus Sutra reads: "If people with a great deal of desire can constantly be mindful and respectful of Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva, they can get rid of their desire." That is the meaning of the present lines of text, as well. "A great deal of desire" specifically refers to sexual desire. The biggest problem in human life, the one that is nearly impossible to resolve, is sexual desire. To see through the involvements of men and women and put them down is genuine liberation. If you can't see through them and put them down, you cannot get free, and you cannot become enlightened.
If you are really adept in your skill, then when you eat you won't know you're eating, and when you are dressed you won't know you're wearing clothes. If you can forget about eating and wearing clothes, you will be even more able to renounce external things. If men can forget about their girlfriends and women can forget about their boyfriends, if you can smash through that state, then your skill will have some substance to it. How much the less should you get hung up with your sisters and brothers, your sons and daughters, and the whole lot of relatives.
To study the Buddhadharma, you have to put everything down. During the period in which you are studying the Buddhadharma, you should pay no regard to anything else. You should be like a new person just beginning again, and you should forget about all the events of the past. In that way the water of Dharma can moisten your Bodhi heart. If you can't put this down and can't renounce that, then the water of Dharma has no way to nourish your Bodhi heart. If you can constantly recite the name of Guan Yin Bodhisattva and pay respect to Guan Yin Bodhisattva, then your thoughts of desire will disappear.
The most important aspect of cultivating the Way is cutting off thoughts of sexual desire. If you cannot do that, you cannot get out of the triple realm. You can't decide that you want to become enlightened and still not be able to part with the experiences of this world. If you can't separate from the affairs of this world, you cannot become a Buddha. You can't have both. Mencius said it well:
You can't have fish and bear-paws at the same time. Although one may like to eat fish and to eat bear-paws, there is no way one can eat both in the same bite. By the same token, you cannot have worldly pleasures and transcendental bliss at the same time. You want to become a Buddha, but you can't part with mundane wealth, forms, fame, food, and sleep. There's no way you can bring that off.
Tenth: when sound is so pure that there is no defiling object, the sense-organ and the external state are perfectly fused, without any complement and without anything complemented. Then I can make it so that living beings who are full of rage and hate can leave all hatred.
The tenth fearlessness: when sound is so pure that there is no defiling object, the sense-organ and the external state are perfectly fused. When one returns the hearing to hear the selfnature, the sound becomes pure, which just means that there isn't any sound. The sound is empty, and the defiling object disappears. Then there is fusion of the six sense-organs and the state of the six sense-objects. In this world, anything evil, no matter what it is, can become good if you know how to deal with it. And good things can turn evil if you cannot deal with them.
Earlier in the sutra the Buddhas of the ten directions told Ananda that the six thieving sense-organs are what causes one to fall, and that the six sense organs are also what enables one to accomplish Buddhahood. It is the six sense-organs and nothing else. If you use them well, they can help you. If you are unable to use them, they can destroy you. It's just like money: when you have it, if you realize that you should do meritorious things with it and perform all kinds of good deeds to benefit beings, then your money has not be spent badly. But if you use the money to gamble and for opium and various other unwholesome things, then you have used your money to commit offenses. The principle is the same with the six sense-organs.
When the sound is gone and the organs and objects are in perfect accord, there is no complement or anything complemented. They are non-dual; they have become one. They are united and so there aren't any sense-organs or sense-objects, and yet the sense-organs are just sense-organs, and the sense-objects are just sense-objects. There is no matching of sense-organs with senseobjects when one reaches this state. Then I can make it so that living beings who are full of rage and hate can leave all hatred. I can cause living beings' big tempers and fiery natures and their massive hatred to disappear. "Hatred" refers to getting angry and having afflictions. The Dharma Flower Sutra says: "If people who have a lot of anger can constantly be mindful and respectful of Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva, they can get rid of their hatred."
The essential point here is being constantly mindful. It's not that you recite today but not tomorrow; recite this morning but not tonight; it's not that you recite this month but not next month. You must recite every day for your practice to be worthy of being called constant mindfulness. And "respectful" does not mean that you recite but never really believe in the Buddha. You harbor a doubt: "Can it really be this way? Is there such a power?" Once you start to question it, you won't be able to be successful. So with faith and constant mindfulness and respect for Guan Yin Bodhisattva, you won't have a temper any more. You won't be so fiery, and you won't have such huge afflictions. You'll leave them far behind.
Eleventh: when the dust has gone and has turned to light, the dharma-realm and the body and mind are like crystal, transparent and unobstructed. Then I can make it so that all dark and dull-witted beings whose natures are obstructed, all atyantikas, can be forever free from stupidity and darkness.
Eleventh: when the dust has gone and has turned to light. When the states of the six sense-organs and six sense-objects melt away, we emit a light. Then, the dharma-realm and the body and mind are like crystal. The body and mind are the dharma-realm, and the dharma-realm is the body and mind. They become one. The body and mind pervade the dharma-realm; isn't that the state of a Buddha? That's also the way Guan Yin Bodhisattva is. The body and mind become like crystal, transparent and unobstructed. From inside one can see outside, and from outside one can see inside. There is no inside, outside, big, or little. That's like the monk, Da Xiu (Great Rest), from Ling Yen mountain. He deserved his name. He built himself a tomb out of rock just big enough to sit in. Then he made a door for it out of stone and carved a couplet beside it, one line on either side of the door. The couplet went like this:
No big, no little, no inside or out.
I cultivated, I understood, and
I took care of myself.
That is, he did his own cultivation, came to understand by himself, and then made his own funeral arrangements. After he finished the couplet he sat down in the tomb, closed the door, and completed extinction. He entered nirvana. That is an inconceivable state. So when he took his rest, it was indeed a great one. How vast was his liberation! How free he was! I met this monk at Su Zhou at Ling Yen mountain. He cultivated for himself and took care of everything else as well. He wasn't any trouble for anyone.
Then I can make it so that all dark and dull-witted beings whose natures are obstructed, all atyantikas, can be forever free from stupidity and darkness. They have no wisdom and so they cannot see through and clearly understand anything, just like a dull knife that can't cut clean. They mistake right for wrong and wrong for right. But Guan Yin Bodhisattva can enable these beings to be separate from obstructions that cover them over.
"Atyantikas" is a Sanskrit word that means "unwholesome mind." If you suggest that such a being do something good, he cannot. Rather than give up a penny for some good use, he grips it clutched in his fist with such force that the copper melts. If you tell him to help someone, his reaction is that it's stupid. "My money's for me to spend. Why should I help other people?"
However, Guan Yin Bodhisattva can help such people get out of their stupidity, their dark viewpoint. Someone who doesn't help others doesn't have any light in his own self-nature, and therefore is the stupidest kind of person there is. The passages just previously discussed greed and hatred. This section concerns stupidity. The Dharma Flower Sutra says, "If people with a lot of stupidity can constantly be mindful and respectful of Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva, they can get rid of their stupidity."
Once there was an extremely wealthy man who really loved money and was loath to give it up. He had three sons. He named the first son "Gold." "Silver" was the name of the second son. The third son, he was afraid, would do good deeds with his money instead of hoarding it, so he named him "Karmic Obstacle." When he was about to die he called his first son to his side and said, "I'm about to go. Will you go with me?"
Gold said, "You're nuts. How could I die with you? You ordinarily love me best. Why is it when it comes time for you to die you want to harm me?" Gold would not go with him.
"Well, I'll talk it over with the second son," the father thought, and he called in Silver. "Your older brother won't accompany me in death. Will you? You're usually very filial."
The second son said, "If you're dying, do it by yourself. Although I'm your son, I can't follow you into death. You're getting eccentric. I'm too young to die." Gold wouldn't go with him, and neither would Silver.
He called in his third son, Karmic Obstacle. "Usually you're very disobedient, so I'm not very fond of you. But now I'm about to die, and Gold and Silver won't go with me. Can you think it over and decide if you can accompany me?"
Karmic Obstacle said, "There's no need for me to think it over. Of course I'll go. Now you see that Gold and Silver, whom you're so fond of, don't stand up to the test. But I, Karmic Obstacle, will follow you wherever you go. In birth I will accompany you, and in death I will join you. So who's most filial after all, tell me?" None of the myriad things can go. Only karma will follow you. The old man reflected upon all the gold and silver he had accumulated that would go for the pleasures of his first and second son, while he himself had to die. He experienced deep regret. "If only I had built a temple or a Bodhimanda while there was still time," he thought. "But now that I'm dying, it's too late." The moral of the story is, don't be like the old man. If you have the means, do good deeds.
Q3 Fearlessness for those with the two kinds of seeking.
Twelfth: when matter dissipates and returns to the hearing, then unmoving in the Bodhimanda I can travel through worlds without destroying the appearance of those worlds. I can make offerings to as many Buddhas, Thus Come Ones, as there are fine motes of dust throughout the ten directions. At the side of each Buddha I become a dharma prince, and I can make it so that childless living beings throughout the dharma-realm who wish to have sons, are blessed with meritorious, virtuous, and wise sons.
Twelfth: when matter dissipates and returns to the hearing, when the physical body is transformed and goes back to the nature of hearing, then unmoving in the Bodhimanda I can travel through worlds without destroying the appearance of those worlds. "The unmoving Bodhimanda" means that he stays in his original Way-place. For instance, Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva is here at the Buddhist lecture hall, but although he is here, he can travel throughout the world. He hasn't moved from here, but his transformation bodies are in all places. And the worlds are not destroyed.
With his Dharma body he can make offerings to as many Buddhas, Thus Come Ones, as there are fine motes of dust throughout the ten directions. He goes throughout the ten directions doing the Buddha's work. At the side of each Buddha I become a Dharma prince, and I can make it so that childless living beings throughout the dharma-realm who wish to have sons, are blessed with meritorious, virtuous, and wise sons.