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The Shurangama Mantra
VOLUME 6, Chapter 3
M2 A detailed account of the ways in which it protects life and aids people on the path.
N1 General mention of these two aspects.
Ananda, I will now tell you more about how this mantra can rescue and protect the world, help people obtain great fearlessness, and bring to accomplishment living beings' transcendental wisdom.
Ananda, I will now tell you more about how this mantra, the Shurangama Mantra, can rescue and protect the world, help people obtain great fearlessness, and bring to accomplishment living beings' transcendental wisdom. It can fulfill any wishes living beings might have, but most importantly, it can reveal their transcendental wisdom.
N2 Detailed listing of its many merits.
O1 Apparent benefit to each living being.
P1 Rescues from calamities.
Q1 Evil situations cannot bring harm.
You should know that, after my extinction, if there are beings in the Dharma-ending Age who can recite the mantra themselves or teach others to recite it, such people who recite and uphold it cannot be burned by fire, cannot be drowned by water, and cannot be harmed by mild or potent poisons.
You should know that, after my extinction, if there are beings in the Dharma-ending Age, this includes you and me, who can recite the mantra themselves or teach others to recite it, such people who recite and uphold it cannot be burned by fire. Perhaps one can recite the mantra from memory or teach others to recite it from memory. People who can recite the mantra from memory or can read it will not be burned by fire, and they cannot be drowned by water, nor can they be harmed by mild or potent poisons.
Q2 Evil beings cannot break through its added protection to cause harm.
And so it is in every other case, such that they cannot be possessed by any evil mantra or any heavenly dragon, ghost, or spirit, or by any essence, weird creature, or demonic ghost. These people's minds will attain proper reception, so that any spell, any paralyzing sorcery, any poison or poisoning gold, any poisoning silver, any plant, tree, insect, or snake, and any of a myriad kinds of poisonous vapors will turn into sweet dew when it enters their mouths.
And so it is in every other case, such that they cannot be possessed by any evil mantra or any heavenly dragon, ghost, or spirit, or by any essence, weird creature, or demonic ghost. All these kinds of ghosts and demons use evil spells. The five phrases of the mantra I told you about recently,
Chr Two Ni
E Jya La
Mi Li Ju
Bwo Li Dan La Ye
Ning Jye Li
represent the five directions, the five divisions, and the five Buddhas. They are known as the "Five Great Heart Mantras." You should not regard them as ordinary. Together they comprise the Heart-mantra of the Buddhas of the five directions. The function of this Heart-mantra is to destroy the mantras and spells of demons. It doesn't matter what kind of evil spell they are weaving; you can smash through it with this mantra. Their mantras lose all their effectiveness.
They are rendered useless. These evil mantras cannot possess you, because the "Five Great Heart Mantras" destroy them. These people's minds will attain proper reception. If you recite the Shurangama Mantra, you can obtain proper concentration, so that any spell, any devious mantra of the heavenly demons or of adherents of externalist ways, cannot harm you. Any paralyzing sorcery.
There is a lot of sorcery in southern China, also in Southeast Asia, such as Burma, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and such places. The kind of sorcery they use, called ku is also based on mantras and spells. If you eat something poisoned by them, you are forever under their spell; you must do as they command. If you don't, you die. In Australia, in the mountain regions, there is a religious sect that uses mantras to shrink people's heads to the size of chicken eggs. And then they put them on display as sorcerer's charms.
In a world as large as this, there's every kind of weird thing imaginable. You shouldn't have the attitude that if you haven't seen it, you don't believe it exists. If you don't believe it, you're just plain stupid. Why do I say that? There are lots of things you've never seen, and if you go on with the idea that you must see them before you believe them, you'll never finish in your entire life.
Before America was discovered, before anyone knew it existed, if you had approached someone and tried to convince him that there was, in fact, another continent with mountains and all the rest, he very likely would not have believed you. But, though he may have denied the existence of America, would that have meant that America did not, in fact, exist? Was it there before it was discovered? Whether or not he admitted its existence, it still existed.
By the same token, whether or not you believe that the strange things being discussed here exist, they exist nonetheless. So if you deny the existence of a thing just because you haven't seen it yourself, you basically don't have a grasp of the way the world really is.
If someone sinks some ku in you, if they apply their sorcery to you, you are forever their slave. If you oppose them, you die. In addition to ku poison, if any poison or poisoning gold, any poisoning silver, any plant, tree, insect, or snake, or any of a myriad kinds of poisonous vapors enter the mouth of people who recite the Shurangama Mantra, it will turn into sweet dew. "Suppose I test this," you suggest. "Suppose I experiment." You still haven't perfected your recitation of the Shurangama Mantra. When you've got it down to the point that it's efficacious and magical, then you can experiment. Before you reach that stage, don't play around with it.
No evil stars, and no ghost or spirit that harbors malice in its heart and that poisons people can work its evil on these people. Vinayaka as well as all the evil ghost kings and their retinues will be led by deep kindness to always guard and protect them.
The previous section of text said that any kind of poisonous thing that enters the mouth of a person who recites and upholds the Shurangama Mantra will turn into sweet dew. These things are basically poisonous, but their composition changes. And the change comes about because one recites and upholds the Shurangama Mantra.
No evil star refers to evil constellations and such things as Tai Sui and the White-tiger Star, which is terrible. And there is the star Sang Men, which is extremely inauspicious and can kill people. But none of these kinds of stars can harm one, nor can any ghost or spirit that harbors malice in its heart and poisons people.
Some people say they don't believe in ghosts or spirits. They have never seen a ghost, and so they don't believe there are any. If they saw one, they'd have no way not to believe in it, even if they didn't want to. "Malice" is also a kind of poison, like arsenic. That drug is fatal if more than a little is taken. But someone with even that much poison in his heart still cannot harm a person who recites and upholds the Shurangama Mantra. He cannot work his evil on these people. Rather, the poison in their own hearts is transformed.
Vinayaka was mentioned in the description of setting up the Bodhimanda. He is a protector with the various transformations which often show a boar or an elephant head with a trunk on a human body. In general he is extremely ugly. He as well as the evil ghost kings and their retinues will be led by deep kindness to always guard and protect them. Having been influenced by the profound compassion of the Buddha in the past, these ghost kings and dharma protectors have resolved to always guard and protect those who recite and uphold the Shurangama Mantra. The advantages of reciting the Shurangama Mantra are truly inconceivable.
P2 Aids in accomplishing way karma.
Q1 The value of its recitation.
Ananda, you should know that eighty-four thousand nayutas of Ganges' sands of kotis of Vajra Treasury-King Bodhisattvas and their descendants, each with vajra multitudes as retinue, are ever in attendance, day and night, upon this mantra.
"Nayuta" is one of the fourteen large numbers in Sanskrit. Some say it represents one trillion; others say ten trillion. In general, it's a big number. "Ganges' sands of kotis" is said to be equivalent to a trillion. Not only are the Vajra Treasury-King Bodhisattvas in attendance on the mantra, those of their lineage are also present. And each member of the entire lineage is accompanied by a retinue of Vajra beings. Day and night, they are always present wherever the Shurangama Mantra is being upheld.
These Bodhisattvas are the ones praised in the section above:
Namo Buddhas of the ten directions,
Namo Dharma of the ten directions,
Namo Sangha of the ten directions,
Namo Shakyamuni Buddha,
Namo Foremost Shurangama atop the Buddha's summit,
Namo Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva,
Namo Vajra Treasury Bodhisattvas.
The eighty-four thousand are referred to in the last line. But actually, it's not only the Vajra Treasury Bodhisattvas who are so numerous. The retinues of all Bodhisattvas are that numerous.
If living beings whose minds are scattered and who have no samadhi remember and recite the mantra, the Vajra Kings will always surround them. Therefore, good men, that is even more true for those who are decisively resolved upon Bodhi. All the Vajra Treasury-King Bodhisattvas will regard them attentively and secretly hasten the opening of their spiritual consciousness.
If living beings whose minds are scattered, their thoughts go every which way and are not the least bit concentrated. They also have no samadhi power, but they remember and recite the mantra. They remember the Shurangama Mantra spoken by the Buddha. The Vajra Kings, the Bodhisattvas, will always surround them, that is, those with scattered minds, if they uphold the Shurangama Mantra.
Therefore, good men, that is even more true for those who are decisively resolved upon Bodhi. You people who have firmly brought forth the Bodhi mind will also be protected by these Vajra Treasury-King Bodhisattvas, who will regard you attentively and secretly hasten the opening of your spiritual consciousness. With close regard for you, they will help you in hidden ways. What will they do? They will help you increase your wisdom, your spiritual consciousness. Little by little they will help those who have scattered minds to become concentrated. Gradually they will obtain samadhi-power. Invisibly they will help those who hold the mantra to open their wisdom and become single-minded.
When that response occurs, those people will be able to remember the events of as many kalpas as there are grains of sand in eighty-four thousand Ganges Rivers, knowing them all beyond any doubt.
When the Vajra Treasury-King Bodhisattvas invisibly open their spiritual awareness, when that response occurs, those people will be able to remember the events of as many kalpas as there are grains of sand in eighty-four thousand Ganges Rivers, knowing them all beyond any doubt. They know very clearly about everything that took place throughout such a long period of time. They have wisdom that has gone beyond doubt. This means they obtain the penetration of past lives. They know the things that happened in the past.
Q2 Separation from various destinies.
From that kalpa onward, through every life until the time they take their last body, they will not be born where there are yakshas, rakshasas, putanas, kataputanas, kumbhandas, pishachas and so forth; where there is any kind of hungry ghost, whether with form or lacking form, or with thought or lacking thought, or in any such evil place.
From that kalpa onward, through every life until the time they take their last body, that is, when they become a Buddha, they will not be born where there are yakshas. They will be born and die again and again, but they will not be born in bad paths, such as that of the yakshas, "speedy ghosts". Nor will they get born where there are rakshashas, "terrifying ghosts" that eat people.
When a person dies, this kind of ghost uses a mantra to change the flesh of the decaying corpse back into fresh meat and eats it. Nor will they have to be around putanas, "bad-smelling ghosts", which are both evil and foul-smelling. If you encounter such a ghost, you will contract a fever. "Putanas" are also known as "bhutanas." Nor will such people be born where there are kataputanas, "strange smelling ghosts."
The other one smelled bad, but this one smells weird, an odor you've never smelled before, one that is incredibly strong. That's what's referred to by the phrase: "It smelled so strange one could not bear to breathe." If you get a whiff of this odor, it will make you vomit on the spot. It connects with the bad smelling stuff inside you, so that you have to regurgitate. You spit your insides out. It's that strong. This ghost causes fevers to an even greater degree of intensity. Your entire body burns with fevers up to l20 degrees and more; it simply burns your bones to ashes. Violent, wouldn't you say?
They won't be born where there are kumbhandas. Actually, all these ghosts have been mentioned before. The kumbhandas are "barrel-shaped ghosts." These ghosts paralyze people. They come on you in your sleep and paralyze you. You open your eyes to find that you can't move. Nor can you speak. At its fiercest, it can kill people with the paralysis. If a person has yang energy, then the paralysis won't hold. It only is effective on those who have excessive yin energy.
What is meant by yang? It means always being happy, truly happy in your self-nature, that is, not just laughing it up on the surface of things, "ha, ha, ha." It refers to the extreme bliss experienced in your inherent nature. If in your self nature you are always worried and depressed, being afflicted, upset, and distressed all day long, that belongs to yin. Those belonging to yin are the ones that ghosts can possess.
Yang belongs to the spirit. Predominance of yang is a spirit; predominance of yin is a ghost. People who cultivate the Buddha Path and have pure yang energy, also have light. But if one is totally yin, there is a black energy present. So, it can be told if a person is good or not just by looking at him or her. Good people have white energy around them; bad people have a mass of black energy, demonic energy.
They also will not be born where there are pishachas and so forth. Pishachas are "essence and energy-eating" ghosts. These ghosts sap the energy from things as well as from people. This kind of ghost is terrible and not at all good. For the most part, ghosts are bad, but among the path of ghosts are also Bodhisattvas who compassionately and deliberately manifest as ghost-kings in order to take ghosts across.
Nor will they be born where there is any kind of hungry ghost. There are many types of hungry ghosts. Some have huge stomachs. Some have throats as skinny as needles. Whether with form or lacking form. Some have bodies, and some are invisible, they have no physical form. But, just because you can't see something, don't assume it isn't there. Invisible creatures may lack form, but they have consciousness. You cannot see them with the ordinary eyes but if you have the five eyes and six spiritual penetrations, it is easy to see them.
With thought or lacking thought. Some have the capability of thought, while others have no thought; they are like dirt, wood, metal, and stone. But a person who upholds the Shurangama Mantra will not be born in any such evil place. Life after life, they will not be born in places where there are hungry ghosts or where there are any other kinds of evil.
Q3 Always born where there are Buddhas.
If these good people read, recite, copy, or write out the mantra, if they carry it or treasure it, if they make offerings to it, then through kalpa after kalpa they will not be poor or lowly, nor will they be born in unpleasant places.
If these good people read the mantra from a book, or recite it from memory; if they copy it out respectfully, or casually write it out; if they carry it on their person, or treasure it, store it in their homes; if they make offerings to it of all kinds of incense and flowers, lamps, candles, and fruit, the Shurangama Mantra was spoken by a transformation body of the Buddha, so it is worthy of offerings, then through kalpa after kalpa they will not be poor or lowly, nor will they be born in unpleasant places.
I've told you that if you can memorize the Shurangama Mantra to the point that it flows forth from your mind and heart, then you have obtained the samadhi of holding the mantra. Once you obtain that, if you can recite it like flowing water which never ceases, then at the very, very least, you can be fabulously wealthy for seven lives. If you continue reciting it in this way for life after life, you can be wealthy for seventy or seven hundred or seven thousand or seven million lives; there's nothing fixed about it. As long as you want to be a wealthy person, you can be one.
But some day you may have had your fill, because even billionaires have their problems. You may get disgusted. Then you can become a Buddha. Once you become a Buddha, there are no more problems. At that point,
In a state of unmoving suchness,
You are ever bright and clear.
So, I'll give you a tip ahead of time. Being a billionaire is not as good as becoming a Buddha. People who uphold and venerate the mantra in these various ways will not be born in places that are worrisome and devoid of bliss. You could not go to those places even if you wanted to. Why? The Shurangama Mantra is pulling at you, telling you not to go. It will be impossible for you to go.