Basic Buddhism

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Collective Karma (Part II)

Published Hunyo 2, 2017 by jptan2012

In the preceding post I talked about family collective karma. Now, allow me to talk about the other different collective karma.

I mentioned in the preceding post that we all have a collective karma with our helpers, boss, and practically everybody we know. Meaning who you work with, who you ride with in the bus, who you employ, or who employs you has a collective karma with us. This is quite complex in the sense that your collective karma with each other is related to each other, but again it doesn’t mean that you all live together at the same time, it may be at different times but with one another.

However, there is also a collective karma where you all lived at the same time and is undergoing a specific karma that you have to pay for. The indication whether this is such a case, when you all have to go through a very significant event in your work at the same time.

A few years ago, an RCBC bank in Laguna was in the headlines for a few days and became the talk of the town for a several days, weeks even, because all the employees where shot and killed in what was considered as one of the most heinous and biggest bank heist in the country. All the employees where killed on that day, and that certainly is an indication that they all have a collective karma that they have to pay for, and it is also an indication that whatever karma is that they’re paying for means that they also collectively did it at the same time on a specific lifetime.

Another example is the Ozone Disco fire tragedy that happened in the Philippines several decades ago, or even the 9-11 attacks. The is an indication that the people who were at the twin towers that day may have a collective karma that they are paying for, and that it is most likely due to something that they did at the same time on a specific lifetime.

The question is how come some people escape unhurt and while others died. I didn’t know the answer to that question until a Zen Dharma Master explained the answer to me. This is base on my experience.

When the July 16 killer quake happened in the Philippines, I didn’t feel a thing, although I was in school about to go home and everybody else certainly felt it.

When I was still in school, I would work for my father’s restaurant in the evening. One night, I went to the rest room to pee. It only took me less than 5 minutes. When I went out of the restroom I saw a group of men going out of our restaurant, our employees were all seem shock and several of the women are crying. As it turned out, somebody just robbed our restaurant by pointing a gun at them and demanding our staff to give not only the sales but also their personal items.

Jump to several years after. In one of our business, I was in the showroom fixing things when I went into the stockroom to get something. The whole process took about 5 minutes, but when I came out to the showroom, I found out that we were hold-up also. All these stories happened at a time when I wasn’t wearing much of an amulet, so the chances that it is because of the amulets saving me are nil. Years later when I attended this Zen Buddhist temple, that the abbess of that temple told me after I shared these stories with her that what I experienced was a form of collective karma. Meaning, chances are we were all involved in a negative act as a group in a specific lifetime, but that chances are I choose not to participate or may even have tried to stop them. As a result in this lifetime I was spared the trauma of all those things but because of my presence in the past life, I really have to sort of go through with it with them although in a different level or intensity.

At this point, your countrymen are also a form of collective karma. So we Filipinos or who is here in the Philippines, we all have a form of collective karma, regardless whether we know each other or not. We all have to pay for the bad karma or reap the good karma depending on what is happening to our country.

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Collective Karma (Part I)

Published Hunyo 1, 2017 by jptan2012

I have talked about karma in this blog several times. But I don’t think that I have really talked about collective karma in depth. One reason I decided to write this is because of the emails that I received asking as to whose karma is it that my nephew passed away early on in life. I have answered it in a separate post but I thought I should write about collective karma for people to understand it fully.

Karma is a very complex subject. I believe one can write a book about it and still not yet fully covered it, and I doubt whether anyone really fully understands how karma works.

At any rate I will still try to explain what is collective karma.

Aside from our individual karma that we have to deal with we have collective karma. Basically, we all have collective karma with the people around us. First and foremost, we have collective karma with our immediate family and relatives. So you have collective karma with the members of your family. While you have karma of your own, there are things that you go through together as a family, and that is your collective karma. You have karmic relationships with your parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins. And if your family employs helpers at home or drivers or gardener, than you have collective karma with them also.

Now, how does it work? Basically, in your past lives, you have lived together and have done things that you are either reaping or paying for now. It doesn’t mean that all of you lived together at the same time, but you might have lived with each other at different times and are paying for karma at the moment at the same time. That’s the collective karma from past lives.

However, there is also a collective karma that is on the present. For example, the patriarch or the matriarch of the family deed some bad things, the whole family might pay for it. But this kind of collective karma usually happens only if it is the head of the family who did the bad act.

Recently, I met a person who has very good bazi chart. However, the bad acts of her parents are hindering her from achieving her full potential. And it is not only affecting her but also affecting her siblings. This is another kind of collective karma.

When my nephew passed away, one of the most common question of people is whether whose karma is it that he should die early in life. To answer that question, it is only his karma and his alone that he should passed away early in life. However, due to our collective karma, it has been destined that we should experience the pain of losing him at this time. Karmas like this are predestined and are so strong that it is quite difficult to change it. But can it be change?

To answer that question we have to consider a lot of factors. First, how strong was the imprint of that karma; how much of the imprint of that karma solely belongs to him or how much of that imprint belongs collectively to all those who are involve. And when I say to those who are involved, it refers to his family, friends, etc.

The truth is it is easier if the karma imprint that he is paying for solely belongs to him, because a strong and powerful amulet like the Vajrapani Ruel would have easily cured that karma. But if the strongest imprint is collective then it is more difficult to cure. Don’t get me wrong, why he died at that age is solely his karma, and no one else. Karma is not about you doing something and letting somebody fully pay for it, so his death was solely his karma. But the collective imprint might have made it other to cleanse this particular negative karma. But death is almost always karma from past life and not karma from the present life. But it is the collective karma of everybody that they should feel pain from this loss.

On my next post, I will discuss the other form of collective karma.

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Recite – A – Sutra (10): Blessings from Reciting “The Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva”!

Published Marso 29, 2017 by jptan2012

Regular readers of this blog knows that I’m a great believe of reciting sutras because reciting sutras has the power to attract numerous blessings and offer strong protection to a person who recites it. In fact, simply having a copy of a sutra, especially if it’s the Traditional Sutra Amulet format, if one is unable to recite will give you financial blessings, peace, happiness, and protection. This blog has shared some of the personal testimonies of my readers who has requested for the Traditional Sutra Amulets (TSA).

earth-store-bodhisattva-sutra-traditional

This is a copy of the traditional SUTRA OF THE PAST VOWS OF BODHISATTVA KSITIGARBHA that my Guru Lama sent me.

But today, in this post, allow me to share with you some of the wonderful blessings you may receive if you recite the SUTRA OF THE PAST VOWS OF EARTH STORE BODHISATTVA. These are the blessings especially mentioned in the sutra. But to understand it further, I have copy – pasted the commentary (short explanation) of Venerable Master Hsuan Hua of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. This is to make the promise of the blessing a little more clearer.

Note: Earth Store Bodhisattva is also known or called as Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha and Di Zhang Pu Sa.

Here is the list of the blessings as stated in the sutra itself followed by commentary of Venerable Master Hsuan Hua:

First, they will be protected by gods and dragons. Gods, celestial dragons and celestial asuras will protect you because you know how to recite the Earth Store Sutra. Asuras in the heavens enjoy blessings but no authority. They swear to protect you. Gandharvas are music spirits before the Jade Emperor. They are also called “sniffing spirits”. Whenever the Jade Emperor lights up a particular incense, Gandharvas come. There are male gandharvas and female gandharvas. Male gandharvas wear a horn similar to chimeras on their heads. Once they get a whiff of this scent, they will dance and sing, so the celestial music rings in the heavens. Recite Earth Store Sutra and gandharvas will sing praises as they dance on air. Garudas are Great Peng birds with golden wings. Kinnaras are music spirits too. Maharagas are giant pythons. All of them protect someone who recite the Earth Store Sutra or bow to Earth Store Bodhisattva.

Second, their good roots will increase daily. Sometimes cultivators are extremely bold as they set their resolve on Bodhi; consequently doing a lot of merit. Sometimes they turn around and withdraw. They retreat because they feel that they do not experience any responses despite all the merit they do for Buddhism. Good results increase daily means that they do no retreat; instead they grow by the day. They develop blessings and wisdom, do good and virtuous deeds, achieve merit and always move forward vigorously in Buddhism. Why? It is because you recite Earth Store Bodhisattva’s name, recite the Fundamental Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva Sutra or pay respects to Earth Store Bodhisattva that you experience the response of growing good effects on a daily basis.

Third, they will amass supreme causes pertaining to sagehood. This means they do various jobs in Buddhism, such as printing sutras and building temples. Repairing bridges and paving roads are about amassing supreme causes pertaining to sagehood too. Making sutras, turning the great Dharma wheel and doing all these good deeds are about cultivating the path to Bodhi and amassing supreme causes pertaining to sagehood.

Fourth, they will not retreat from Bodhi. Sometimes we are vigilant and sometimes we are lax in our cultivation. Vigilant, we are quite bold with everything. Lax, we feel that we are not getting any responses from any work we do, so we retreat. Recite Earth Store Sutra, recite Earth Store Bodhisattva’s name, and bow and make offerings to Earth Store Bodhisattva; we do not renounce our resolve for Bodhi. Our wish for enlightenment moves ahead and grows on a daily basis, never retreating.

Fifth, their clothing and food will be abundant. We are not short of clothes or food. People work their entire lives for those three meals a day. They work hard out of fear of dying because of starvation or cold. They are always looking for more money. When we did not have any money, we want 10,000 dollars. When we get our wish and earn 10,000, we find that lacking. We tell ourselves, if we had 100,000 dollars, we will retire. But when we make that 100,000 dollars, we remember that our kids have to go to school. We do not have enough money. We want to buy a car, so there is not enough money. We want to buy a cruise boat, so there is not enough money still. Thinking even bigger, we may want an airplane. Hundred thousand dollars does not do any good. We look for money.

When we find that one million dollars and are ready to buy that plane, the price of the airplane has gone up. We could have purchased it for $990,000 before, but now it is $9,900,000. The price has gone up by ten times. We cannot afford it once again. We can never catch up because of our greed. We were going to be satisfied and retired as millionaires, but we end up continuing with the pursuit. We are never satisfied and never content.

If you recite Earth Store Bodhisattva’s name, recite Earth Store Sutra, bow and make offerings to Earth Store Bodhisattva, you will always enjoy more than enough clothing and food. When you want to buy an airplane, you will earn more than enough money for two airplanes. That is how wonderful this Dharma is. In that case, I will hurry up and recite Earth Store Bodhisattva! Recite Earth Store Bodhisattva in the hopes of buying two airplanes is greed. Large amounts of greed will not bring about results. All we can do is try our best while reciting. Do not care so much about whether there will be results. Some say, “Master, I feel I am tricked by what you say!” Then what? Do not be tricked. Consequently, we must be content and be patient with what comes.

Sixth, they will never succumb to epidemics. Recite Earth Store Bodhisattva’s name and you will not contract any contagious diseases. Epidemics cannot touch you because there seems to be a border between you and the disease.

I remember when I was in Northeast China during a plague. A household of eleven had thirteen deaths in three days. How can a household of eleven have two more deaths than the number in the family? Two were bearers of gifts. Eleven was not a large enough number, two more had to be added. Out of these two, one was a worker for the family and the other was a distant relative who came to visit. They were additions to the eleven that made the total number of dead thirteen. When I was there, I took four young disciples with me. “We are going to go and rescue people!” How? I told them, “Let us recite the Great Compassion Mantra to duel the plague spirit.” We went to villages plagued by this epidemic and circled the place three times, reciting the Great Compassion Mantra. When we finished reciting Great Compassion Mantra, the epidemic vanished. So reciting the Great Compassion Mantra is very effective and wonderful.

Seventh, they will escape calamities involving fire and water. Recite Earth Store’s name, there will be no floods or fire, or they will not drown in water and not be burned by fire. They will naturally float to shallow spots and reach the shore when they fall into the sea; they will naturally be rescued when fire is closing in on them.

Eighth, they will never be threatened by thieves. Why are you robbed and stolen from? It is because you unreasonably took other people’s money for your own. You had lied in the past so you are robbed in this life. You have to pay your due. This is the reason why you are robbed and stolen from. All this is a result of cause and effect. There is nothing strange about it. If you really understand this, then you will see the cause and effect in any state and recognize this cyclic law.

Ninth, they will be respected by all who see them. Recite Guanshiyin Bodhisattva (also known as Guan Shi Yin, Kuan Shi Yin, Guan Yin, Kuan Yin) and Earth Store Bodhisattva’s names and pay respect to them; people will respect you and feel close to you. They feel as if they see relatives from long ago. They feel so close to you, as if they have come home. This is like being along overseas where you know no one. When you meet some old friends, you feel awkward. You do not know whether you are happy or sad, whether to smile or cry, Or you want to laugh and cry! You cry because you see someone dear to you. You laugh because you feel secure now.

People respect you at the sight of you. No one criticizes you or mistreats you. Do not say, “You know, I am an upasaka! You must respect me!” Or, “I am a Dharma Master, bow to me when you see me!” This is not about forcing others to respect you. The saying goes, “ Musk will naturally smell nice, why let the wind blow on it?” If you were really virtuous, do not act like some medicinal patches salesperson. “Oh, my medicinal patch is the best. Arthritis, rheumatism, numbness, just put on this patch and it will cure itself even if you do not put on the patch. Do not sell yourself, fearing that others will not know you. “Do you know who I am? I am the most powerful Buddhist Dharma Protector. I am a senior Dharma Protect at so and so temple. Also, I am the Board of Director of some charity organization. I am also the supporter of some place, etc., etc.” One introduces oneself because one is afraid that other people will not know. Stop, that is pretense and untrue. Advertise and sell yourself, then blind individuals will not know and be swindled by you; but people with eyes will see it right away, finding you pathetic.

Tenth, they will be aided by ghosts and spirits. If you have real merit, why publicize it for yourself? Ghosts, spirits, & Dharma protectors will help and support you. They will help you and resolve your difficulties from behind the scenes. No need to publicize. The tenth advantage is that all ghosts, good and bad, and all spirits, good and bad, will all help you. Evil spirits will also help you? Is this due to the power of Earth Store Bodhisattva? It is by the power of Earth Store Bodhisattva. All evil ghosts and spirits become Dharma protectors.

If I recite Earth Store King Bodhisattva, will he tell people to come and scold me? No. Why? To tell you the truth, you are not up the level yet! You have not even finished studying, how can you pass the test? You pass when you graduate from college. Why test you if you just entered college and have not even graduated? Do not think that scolding is bad. Scoldings are tests. If you can take it, you pass. If you pass, keep going forward and cultivate. Do you cultivate any more after you pass the test? Cultivate even more once you pass. If not, what is the use of passing the test? What is the use of studying to earn a Ph.D.? It is the same idea. If you understand, you understand; if you do not understand, there is nothing I can do.

Eleventh, women who want to, can be reborn as men. The eleventh advantage is that if you are tired of being a woman, by paying respects and making offerings, praising and reciting the Fundamental Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva Sutra, or reciting and praising Earth Store Bodhisattva’s name, then you as a woman will turn into a man. Perhaps it is not because you are tired of being a woman that you wish to become a man. You feel that it is inconvenient being a woman and therefore wish to become a man. You make that kind of vow because everything will be convenient then. Earth Store Bodhisattva will make your wishes come true.

Twelfth, women who want to, can be reborn as daughters of national leaders and officials. Any wish to go from a woman to a man will be met. So will the wish to go from a man to a woman. Men may recite Earth Store Bodhisattva’s name, bow to an image of Earth Store Bodhisattva or recite the Fundamental Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva Sutra to become a woman who teaches living beings. Women usually have less of a temper, are more detail-oriented and speak as if they have affinities with others. This is why some Bodhisattvas make the vow to go from being men to women. They go from being men to women to propagate the Buddhadharma and teach living beings. Consequently, these women are not average women, but daughters to kings and ministers. They enjoy a lot of power to influence people so that people may develop their faith and intention to cultivate. These women have been reborn again because of their vows.

Thirteenth, they will have upright appearances. The thirteenth advantage is not only about being women, but women who are intelligent and wise, nice looking without any flaws. The nose, eyes, ears and mouth all look the way they should. Someone asks, “Are there ears that do not look like ears. Are there eyes that do not look like eyes?” Some women have triangular eyes or strange looking eyes that look about as if they are ready to steal some cows. They do not look so elegant. They are rather crude, improper and less than perfect. The nose is on top of the head, with nostrils pointed upward. What do you think that is like? Some women have one eye up close to the sky and one eye close to the floor, ears on the back of her head, and a mouth on the chin. They do not look quite like people, not quite like ghosts, and not quite like monkeys. If they were a product of evolution, how is it that they do not look like anybody else but they are the only ones who look that way? This is an improper and imperfect look. If you wish to become women, your looks ought to be perfect and proper. If your features were proper-looking, people will feel a sense of affinity with you. If your features were improper, people take a look and run away as if they saw a yaksha.

Fourteenth, they will often be born in the heavens. The fourteenth advantage surpasses those described before. They are born in the heavens often to enjoy heavenly blessings and supremely wonderful bliss.

Fifteenth, they may be emperors or national leaders. The fifteenth is that they may become candidates for emperors by reciting the Earth Store Sutra, bow to Earth Store Bodhisattva, and recite Earth Store Bodhisattva’s name. This is an incredible advantage. “Dharma Master, I do not want to go to the heavens and be an emperor or be a good-looking individual. This Saha World is so miserable, I have had enough already.” You really had enough? There are other opportunities for realizing Buddhahood, the last enumerated advantage is to realize Buddhahood.

Sixteenth, they will have the wisdom to know past lives. They know what they did in their past lives. Perhaps they were political officials, scholars or business people. They know what their last names, first names were, their place of birth and age of death. Now they are in a new house, different from their earlier ones. Those with the power to know past lives know what occurred in their past lives.

Seventeenth, they will obtain whatever they seek. The 17th advantage is that you get what you want. You want riches and you get them. You want people, you get people. You want food, you get food. You want to be rich and you will own an uncountable amount of gold, silver and jewels. Just avoid following in the footsteps of Disatrers.Reza Shah Pahlavi [the Iranian czar], who earned so much money, none of which was enjoyed during his lifetime. He died empty-handed. How meaningless and worthless. Do not be misers.

Eighteenth, their families will be happy. The 18th advantage is that their family, relatives and friends around them are all happy, safe and at peace. People do not fight or argue. This creates happy families.

Sometimes a lot of afflictions develop in the family, between husband and wife, father and son, brothers and sisters, or in-laws. The most intimate relationship in our lives has to be that between parent and child. When their opinions diverge, the child may think: “Look, the old man’s brain is arcane; his knowledge is arcane; everything he does is arcane. He has not caught up with modern times and does not know how to deal with the contemporary world.” He feels that old people do present a problem. Elders are so concerned about their children that they forgive their children no matter what wrong they do.

The children, unfortunately, are ungrateful and consider the elders in the wrong. Why do you not educate your children well? It is because parents do not know how to teach their children. Consequently children do not know how to take care of their parents. Many problems remain unresolved between parents and their children. As for couples, before marriage, both wear a façade and do not argue or fight. After marriage, both display their temper. The man will let the woman know that he is upset and the woman will let the man know that she is upset. They give each other stress. With this 18 th advantage, your families and friends will always be happy if you get to see an image of Earth Store Bodhisattva or hear the name of Earth Store Bodhisattva.

Nineteenth, they will never undergo any disasters. All disasters and accidents, adverse and inauspicious events are unexpected disasters. Suicide by hanging, drowning at the sea, airplane crashes, car accidents, suicide by taking poisons are all unexpected deaths. When all accidents disappear, all disasters disappear. There will be no more hurt or harm.

Twentieth, they will leave the bad karmic paths forever. No more offense karma. The three evil destinies are the realms of hell-beings, hungry ghosts, and animals.

Twenty-first, they will always reach their destination. The 21st advantage is one where they go everywhere unobstructed and very smoothly. Things are auspicious and beneficial for them.

Twenty-second, their dreams will be peaceful and happy. The 22nd advantage. Unlike average people’s dreams some always have vicious nightmares. They experience nightmares where they are either chased by ghosts, bitten by dogs, or eaten by tigers. Sometimes they are pressed upon by ghosts and cannot move. They panic. Recite The Fundamental Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva Sutra and Earth Store Bodhisattva’s name, your dreams will become happy and lucky.

Twenty-third, their deceased relatives will leave suffering behind. The 23rd advantage is that your parents, ancestors, and relatives since beginningless time, will leave suffering and attain bliss, become liberated from birth and death. Many deceased individuals fall into the hells because of their karma. However, because you see an image of Earth Store Bodhisattva or hear the name of Earth Store Bodhisattva, there are 28 advantages that make the deceased leave suffering behind and acquire bliss. The deceased of the present are our deceased parents and relatives in this life. They will leave suffering and attain bliss. The deceased of the past are all of our deceased parents and relatives throughout all of our lives will leave suffering and attain bliss.

Twenty-fourth, they will enjoy blessings earned in previous lives. You ride on the good roots and blessings from your past lives. Having done a lot of merit and planted deep roots of goodness, they enjoy such blessings of lives past. Why are we rich in this life? In past lives we made offerings to the Sangha and offered charity to the poor. In the past, we made offerings to the Triple Jewel, guarded Buddhism, and helped the poor. This is why we are rich in this lifetime. Why are we poor in this life, perhaps so impoverished that we have no clothing or food? In past lives we refused to help the poor. In lives past, we refused to aid the poor. We were very stingy and did not want to give up anything. If we were not so miserly before, but cultivated blessings and wisdom instead, then the blessings done in past lives may be enjoyed in this lifetime.

Twenty-fifth, they will be praised by sages. The 25th is that all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, sages, and arhats praise you and tell you that you are a good man or a good woman.

Twenty-sixth, they will be intelligent and have keen faculties. The 26th advantage is about being very smart and wise, having a powerful memory. The eyes are bright and they see far. The ears hear well. All six sense faculties are keen.

Twenty-seventh, they will be magnanimous and empathetic. The 27th is being full of sympathy and compassion toward everyone. Providing every individual with joy and relieving one of one’s pain. Regardless of how unkind people are, they treat others kindly and refuse to seek revenge.

Twenty-eighth, they will ultimately realize Buddhahood. What is the 28th advantage? This is the most critical advantage– to irreversibly enter the Bhodi path so that they will definitely become Buddhas in the future.

If you wish to know more about the Sutra Amulet (A Special Recite – A – Sutra Article) Series you can click on the links below:

You can read all the other post about the ‘Recite A Sutra’ Series:

  1. Invite Wonderful Blessings in Your Life by Reciting A Sutra!
  2. Recite A Sutra (1): Create Harmony and Peace Thru The Powerful Sutra Called ‘The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra’!
  3. Recite A Sutra (2): Get Healed or Good Health, Create An Aura of Protection, Attract Wealth, With the Power of ‘The Medicine Buddha Sutra’!
  4. Recite A Sutra (3): For Protection & Unlimited Blessings of Auspiciousness Recite One of the Most Powerful & Highly Revered Sutra Both in Tibetan & Chinese Buddhism Called ‘The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom Sutra’!
  5. Recite A Sutra (4): Attract Auspiciousness and Cure Bad Feng Shui with “The Noble Stack of Auspiciousness Sutra”.
  6. Recite A Sutra (5): In Times of Conflict Recite the Powerful Protector Sutra Called “The Golden Light Sutra”!
  7. Recite – A – Sutra (6): Why Do We Have to Loudly Recite Sutras?
  8. Recite – A – Sutra (7): Recite the Ullambana Sutra on the 15th Day of the 7th Lunar Month – How the Hungry Ghost Month is Not Just About Negative Energies – It is Also Time To Change One’s Bad Fate to a Positive One!
  9. Chant – A – Mantra (7) & Recite – A – Sutra (8): Additional Protection from the Double Illness Star and Double Wu Wang in the Northeast!
  10. The Many Benefits of A Sutra: How A Sutra Can Be Use As An Amulet (A Special Recite – A – Sutra Article)
  11. “The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom Sutra” Is One of the Holiest and Most Powerful You Can Keep: A Special Recite – A – Sutra Article
  12. Getting Rid of Bad Luck and Bad Spirits With the Use of A Traditional Sutra Amulet: A Personal Testimony of A Reader (A Special Recite – A – Sutra Article)
  13. Recite – A – Sutra (9): A Sutra Called Avatamsaka Sutra and Powerful Amulet Called Avatamsaka Amulet that Dispels Off the Hindrances in Our Life’s Luck!

For questions, comments, and suggestions please email sanaakosirickylee@gmail.com

 

 

The Ten Realms of Existence in Buddhism (2): The Four Higher Realms

Published Nobyembre 9, 2016 by jptan2012

In the preceding first part of this post, I introduced to you the TEN REALMS OF EXISTENCE IN BUDDHISM and also talked about the SIX LOWER REALMS. Today, I would like to talk to you about the Higher Realms. We should all aspire to reach these realms, although the ultimate goal is that we enter the highest realm. Once one enter into these realms one will no longer go back to the lower realms but again the goal is to reach the highest realm. Once you entered this realm you are considered as enlightened, although not fully enlightened unless you reach the highest level, which is Buddhahood.

The 4 Higher Realms of Existence in Buddhism are the following:

  1. ARHAT. This is the first level of the higher realm. Simply put this is someone who by listening or reading and practicing the Buddha dharma, as extinguishes all defilements and has achieved nirvana. While it may be easier for the Asuras and the Deva (Heavenly Beings) to enter Arhatship, they are a lot of humans who has entered Arhatship also. This is especially true during the time of Sakyamuni Buddha. When an Arhat passes away, their body usually doesn’t decay in the way like most people do.
  2. PRATYEKABUDDHA. Is someone who entered nirvana and has ended samsara. But in Buddhism, there is a time that there will be no Buddha and no Dharma, but if one enters nirvana through meditation this person is considered as a Pratyekabuddha also.
  3. BODHISATTVA. The word is actually a combination of two words. First, Bodhi means awakened or to awaken to the truth. Sattva means sentient beings. In short it means an awakened sentient beings. During the time of Buddha Sakyamuni, it is extremely possible to become a ‘living’ Bodhisattva or to be a human Bodhisattva. To this day, the Dalai Lama and the Karmapa are considered as living Bodhisattva. A Bodhisattva is strongly characterized by their compassion, loving – kindness, wisdom, great vows, good deeds. A Bodhisattva also has tremendous power to help all sentient beings. Some of the most well known Bodhisattvas are Avalokitesvara (also known as Kuan Yin, Guan Yin, Kuan Shi Yin, Guan Shi Yin, Kannon), Ksitigarbha (also known as Earth Store, Di Zhang Wang) Samantabhadra (also known as Pu Xian), Manjushri (also known as Wun Shu Shi Li), Maitreya (also known as Mi Luo and colloquially called Happy Fat Buddha), Vajrapani (also known as Chin Kang Shou) and who is the Bodhisattva that controls or has power over the Vajrapani Ruel, Mahasthamaprapta (also known as Da Shi Zhi) and a lot more. In Zen Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism, they acknowledge that some people although technically not a Bodhisattva and do not have supernatural powers and still has a body, do manifest the wonderful Bodhisattva traits. At this point, I’m reminded of my reader turned friend BM and Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa. (Incidentally, a saint maybe equivalent to a Bodhisattva).
  4. BUDDHA / BUDDHAHOOD. This is the ultimate goal, and Siddharta Gautama achieved this in human form until he moved on to spiritual form. As a Buddha he is called Sakyamuni Buddha. A Buddha is some who has achieved perfect enlightenment, and one who is has perfect wisdom and perfect compassion. A Buddha is not a God. There are so many Buddhas that existed and still exist before Sakyamuni Buddha, and according to Buddha Sakyamuni the next Buddha is Maitreya Buddha .

 

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The Ten Realms of Existence in Buddhism (1): The First Six Lower Realms

Published Nobyembre 8, 2016 by jptan2012

When I wrote the post entitled – IS THERE A FENG SHUI RELEVANCE TO ALL SOULS DAY – I know that this is really the time for me to write about the topic that I have always wanted to write but has withheld from writing it because I’m not sure whether my readers are ready for it and also if it is the right time.

However, in hindsight this is something that I should have written before I even wrote and posted about the article about the Feng Shui relevance of All Souls Day. But having said that, I still believe that everything works and happened on its right time. And maybe it is really meant for me to write this now.

For Christians, when you die you either go to hell or heaven, maybe purgatory. And there you stay forever, that’s the only rebirth you experience. But in Buddhism, it is said that one goes thru reincarnation or rebirth, and there are different realms that you go to, the first six realms which are considered as the lower realm you go through that several times.

What are these SIX LOWER REALMS?

  1. HELL. To put it plainly this is a realm very similar to what Christians believe in. This is where you undergo punishment for your sins. If I’m not mistaken, in the Bible, hell is described as a lake of fire. In Buddhism, the lake of fire is just one part of hell. There are many different stages and parts of a hell. But needless to say in all those parts you go through retribution by a lot of suffering from your offenses in your other lives.
  2. HUNGRY GHOST. This is somewhat akin to hell, only the difference is that some Hungry Ghost still has the capacity to live amongst humans. You undergo suffering and retribution in this realm by feeling that you have a physical body but are unable to touch physical things. One of these things is food. Technically speaking, Hungry Ghosts may be nice or temperamental. They retain characteristics of human in terms of temperament and personality.
  3. ANIMAL. Simply put you are born as an animal, which is seen as a lesser being because of several attachments and inability to fully discern right and wrong. And most animals have a short life span and also are less fortunate than humans.
  4. HUMAN. This is us. If you are human, it is considered that you have enough good karma for you to be born as one. Because humans have the power to right things and learn new things and learn about the dharma (Buddha’s Teachings). But take note that we are still in the lower realm, and we are not in the highest in the lower realm.
  5. ASURA. Asura’ are unseen being that are better off than humans, they still need to learn things and they have their own realm of existence. They can see us, but we cannot see us. It is said that you are born as an Asura if as a human you are very generous but tends to have foul mouth and a bad temper. I guess one example of this is to take the story of Robinhood. Somebody like will be born as an Asura because he did a lot of good things but at the same time he stole things.
  6. HEAVENLY BEINGS. There are so many stages in Heavenly Beings that I will discuss in the future. But as a heavenly being one has some kind of supernatural power, but one has no physical body. A Heavenly Being lives in a place much like what the Bible described. However, as a heavenly being they still need to learn more about the Dharma. Some of the gods and deities of Taoism are considered as Heavenly Beings in Buddhism. In the lowest realm of Heavenly Beings are the Demons, who guard the lower realms like hell. And heavenly beings can be reborn as an Asura or Human or Animal, but their life span is much longer than that of human. Heavenly beings can help protect those in the lower realms like humans. In fact, in the Sutras a lot of the Lord and Yakshas and ‘Demons’ have committed to protect the people who read and carry or own the Medicine Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Earth Store Bodhisattva Sutra, and the Surangama Mantra Amulet.

Everybody in the lower realm undergoes rebirth. One can go up to Heavenly Beings or go down to Hell depending on one’s karma. As long as we don’t achieve Samadhi we will continue to be born in one of these realms.

We only stop samsara (cycle of rebirth) once we have attained Samadhi. And we enter the 4 higher realms. I will discuss that on my next post.

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How Fast Does An Amulet Work?

Published Oktubre 18, 2016 by jptan2012

One of the most common question people ask me is – HOW FAST DOES AN AMULET WORK?

In Buddhism, he standard belief is that it takes 3 months to 7 months before you start to feel something that is brought about by the amulet. However, it is not totally alien for Buddhist to sometimes feel something already even before they physically get an amulet, simply the thought of acquiring an amulet and making a move to acquire it, like sending a donation, sometimes already signifies the start of your ‘relationship’ o affinity with the amulet. Furthermore, if for example a love one acquired an amulet for the purpose of giving it to somebody, sometimes the one who will receive it can already feel some changes brought about by the amulet. This is what happened to one of my readers, Cecile.

Cecile, intends to give an amulet to her sister so that she can patch things up with her mom, amongst other things, and Cecile believes that even before he sister received the Vajrapani Ruel, the miracle has already worked on them.

image23

TRANSLATION OF WHAT CECILE SAID:”Hi! Do you know just it was only earlier that I was able to give the Vajrapani to my Sister, but as early as yesterday she has patch things up with my mother. In fact, she even to Divisoria with her. Isn’t it great?! Even before she get it, the miracle has already happened to her. ” – The last part of her sms she talked about my article about ripped jeans, which she suspects is the cause of the lowering of her child’s grades. Then she talked about being vegan.

The Vajrapani Ruel itself enjoys some miracles that are quite instantaneous, so even if Buddhist beliefs states that it should be about 3 months to 7 months, sometimes it can be so much faster than that, and it’s totally possible as proved by some of the personal testimonies found on this blog.

But what are the factors that makes it work faster than others?

Well, there are several factors. Belief plays a role in it, but as you can see in the post entitled – Vajrapani Ruel Stories (25): Illegal Detention and Murder Cases Against An Underdog Politician Dropped (How The Vajrapani Ruel Saved A Person Without Him Knowing)– the one who was actually helped didn’t even know that he has the Vajrapani Ruel. The Karma plays an important role also. For example, some people are bound to have a specific luck, and acquiring a powerful amulet makes it faster. Still about Karma sometimes a powerful amulet takes awhile to work because it still needs to cleanse some negative karma that serves as an hindrance to the luck that one is aspiring for. Sometimes, additional or support energies help to make things faster, such as chanting of mantras, lighting of incense or candles, etc., or even good wishes from friends or loved ones.

For the Vajrapani Ruel, I notice that going Vegetarian, especially Vegan, makes it work faster.

At the end of the day, our attitude towards the amulet contributes to the efficacy of the amulet. Note, I stated that our attitude contributes but I would like to make it clear that it’s not the determining factor because an amulet will work or not whether we believe in it or not. Especially if its a powerful amulet.

For questions, comments, and suggestions please email sanaakosirickylee@gmail.com

The Buddhist Neighbor

Published Oktubre 17, 2016 by jptan2012

I’m really quite happy that I received the traditional copy of THE SUTRA OF THE PAST VOWS OF THE EARTH STORE BODHISATTVA (also called known as Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva) and THE DIAMOND OF PERFECT WISDOM SUTRA just when we are settling to our new home. As I have said these traditional sutra amulets provides protection but more than that they also provide wonderful blessings. I have been looking and aspiring to get such sutras to be place in our house or even in my room. However, even if it is quite common for temples to have them, they are not for sale, neither it is regularly given to the temple goers. Furthermore, while they are in itself carries with it some power; it will be better to get one that was consecrated by a qualified lama or monk. Not all monks are qualified to consecrate a sutra amulet.

sutra-amulets

These are just one copy each of the very limited copies sent to me by my Guru Lama of the THE SUTRA OF THE PAST VOWS OF THE KSITIGARBHA BODHISATTVA, THE DIAMOND OF PERFECT WISDOM SUTRA and THE MEDICINE BUDDHA SUTRA. Sutras are also used as very powerful amulets, that is why you will often old Buddhist Chinese houses has a copy of the Sutra on their altar though they might not be reciting the sutra itself.

But what I want to share now is that when we first moved to our new home, and although we got all the most auspicious omens which I have written about a few posts ago, we sometimes still can’t help but miss our old home. We have been living in our old home since 1980, and moving to new home, even one we have grown to love right away still makes us feel a little ‘homesick’. I think one of the reasons for this; we practically don’t know any of our neighbors. My mom who is not in her 70’s had to make new friends in our neighborhood and it would be quite difficult, especially when we never had any other neighbors than Chinese and pure Filipino, but now some of our neighbors are Spanish mestizo or mestizo.

diamond-sutra2

These are just one copy each of the very limited copies sent to me by my Guru Lama of the THE SUTRA OF THE PAST VOWS OF THE KSITIGARBHA BODHISATTVA, THE DIAMOND OF PERFECT WISDOM SUTRA and THE MEDICINE BUDDHA SUTRA. Sutras are also used as very powerful amulets, that is why you will often old Buddhist Chinese houses has a copy of the Sutra on their altar though they might not be reciting the sutra itself.

One other reason is that there is no Buddhist temple that is near our place. I think the nearest is about 45 minutes away. Unlike before where it was only 8 minutes away, on top of that, we’ve designed our house to include a big image of a Bodhisattva Kuan Yin (also called or spelled as Avalokitesvara, Guan Yin, Kuan Shi Yin, Guan Shi Yin, Kannon, Cannon) on our small and humble front lawn, and the image of Guan Yin Bodhisattva can be seen outside. Several times when we light incense or made offerings in that particular image of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, I noticed some car slowing down or there are a few who really can’t resist but to stare. From what I know there are very few Filipino – Chinese in our new subdivision and I really haven’t seen any of them. And maybe there would be even fewer Buddhist, and we were informed by the person who sold us the property that the subdivision is predominantly Catholic.

About a week since we moved in to our new home, neighbors started introducing themselves, and our image of Kuan Shi Yin Bodhisattva on our small and humble front lawn became the main focus of these conversations. My mom told me that she felt awkward explaining to our new neighbors as to why do we make offerings in front of the image. However, I think this seems to be an indication that they are genuinely interested in what we do and told my mom that she can use this as an opportunity to talk about Buddhism. But she clearly pointed out to me that she doesn’t have the passion of talking about her faith to people.

Anyway, when I received the traditional copies of the sutra amulets, and my Guru Lama said I and my family can have one each of THE SUTRA OF THE PAST VOWS OF THE KSITIGARBHA BODHISATTVA and THE DIAMOND OF PERFECT WISDOM SUTRA (also called THE VAJRA CUTTER PERFECTION OF WISDOM SUTRA or THE VAJRA SUTRA or THE VAJRA CUTTER SUTRA or THE DIAMOND SUTRA), and so as I said I was really happy to place them on the altar. It is customary that each member of the family to have one wish each as you put the sutras on the altar (we got two wishes each because there are two sutras), my youngest nephews all of a sudden uttered that his only wish is for his grandmother (my mother) to meet a Buddhist neighbor so that his grandmother won’t feel like she’s an alien.

earth-store-bodhisattva-sutra-traditional

These are just one copy each of the very limited copies sent to me by my Guru Lama of the THE SUTRA OF THE PAST VOWS OF THE KSITIGARBHA BODHISATTVA, THE DIAMOND OF PERFECT WISDOM SUTRA and THE MEDICINE BUDDHA SUTRA. Sutras are also used as very powerful amulets, that is why you will often old Buddhist Chinese houses has a copy of the Sutra on their altar though they might not be reciting the sutra itself.

Guess what? The next day, one of our neighbors (well they’re from two streets away) rang our bell and welcomed us with a pot of a vegetarian dish. They are a couple around 60 something. The wife is a Filipina and the husband is Irish, and they both happen to be practicing Buddhist for more than 20 years already! They said they’re happy that have a Buddhist neighbor. I wasn’t there at that time, but my mom said that she told them that she was happy to finally have met a Buddhist neighbor!

If you wish to know more about the Sutra Amulet (A Special Recite – A – Sutra Article) Series you can click on the links below:

If you wish to read the Sutras mentioned above, you can download them by clicking on the link:

Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva

The Diamond Sutra

For questions, comments, suggestions, please email sanaakosirickylee@gmail.com

 

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