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Bodhisattva Wishfulling and Master Protection Amulet Pendant (2): Getting Reacquainted with Bodhisattva Guan Yin!

Published Nobyembre 9, 2018 by jptan2012

 

Kuan YinKuan Yin, also spelled as Quan Yin or Guan Yin, is a Bodhisattva of Compassion. A lot of people refer to her as the Buddha of Compassion, which is technically wrong in terms of terminology, but absolutely right when refers to her true being.

The truth is Quan Yin or Kuan Yin is a Bodhisattva who refuses to enter Buddhahood because of her desire to help all sentient beings to achieve nirvana or the Buddhist equivalent of heaven.

Kuan Yin (also spelled as Quan Yin, Kwan Yin, Guan Yin, Gwan Yin) is  of mercy and compassion. It is said, that her compassion towards sentient beings exceeds that of all the other Bodhisattvas combined. She is considered to be a source of unconditional love and a savior of sentient beings. When talking about Kuan Yin’s love for us, mankind is usually not used, because it is said that it is an underestimation of her compassion. Sentient beings is generally use because this also refers to other beings, other than just us humans, it refers to all living creatures that includes insects.

As a Bodhisattva, Kuan Yin pledges to response to all the cries and please of all beings, in fact, it is aid that even before you utter your plea, Kuan Yin would already have heard you and responded to your plea. Naturally, devotion to her will help hasten this, but you need not believe in her for her to reply to your pleas. The sutras that talked about Kuan Yin as a savior of both the spiritual and physical realm and when a person with deep negative karma call upon her, she will have cleanse and help this person from his karmic burden.

I don’t think that it’s an exaggeration to say that Kuan Yin’s popularity amongst Chinese Buddhist exceeds that of other Buddha and Bodhisattva. She is extremely popular and revered that Taoism has also ‘adopted’ her thus making her one of the most revered Taoist deities. It is not surprising to see Taoist temples having her image.

She is also extremely popular as being a merciful deity that some people wrongly address her as Goddess of Mercy.

There are a lot of miracles that are attributed to Kuan Yin. These miracles may range from the simple things like wanting to get a job, wanting to have a child to something really big and may seem like impossible.

My personal treasure trove of stories about Kuan Yin’s blessings and/or miracles is simply amazing. Not to mention stories shared with me by my friends, relatives, and acquaintances. You simply have to search the net and you’ll see a lot of stories about Kuan Yin’s miracles.

I’m not going to share a personal story because that will be a little self-serving. Instead, let me share with you a story of a woman who goes to the same temple that I go to. Let’s just call her A. A is a 40 something housewife. She said that she’s a devotee of Kuan Yin just like her mother. In fact, I’ll often see her make some offerings to Kuan Yin even if there’s no occasion such as the Kuan Yin feast day. I talked to her about her devotion to Kuan Yin and she clarified that while there are other small miracles that she can attribute to Kuan Yin, she believes that 2 of the important thing that happened in her life is due to Kuan Yin’s blessing. The first one is when she had her first child. It was a difficult pregnancy not only because it was her first child, but it was also a complicated pregnancy that almost got aborted several times. The worst part of the pregnancy happened on the 7th month. She had a severe case of bleeding that they thought she’d go into premature labor. On the way to the hospital, while her husband is driving, she and her mom just kept on calling Kuan Yin’s name while they mentally pray that Kuan Yin save her baby.kuan yin 4b

She was stabilized at the hospital but they can’t say the same were true for her baby. They are unable to detect the heartbeat of the baby and the ultrasound shows that the baby isn’t moving at all! After a while, the OB informed them that if another 15 minutes passed by with a heartbeat and/or a movement they would have to operate on her. By this time, she was almost hysterical, out of desperation; her mom took of her Kuan Yin pendant and gave it to A. A didn’t wear pendant but she ‘hold on’ to Kuan Yin, about 5 minutes after she ‘hold on’ to the pendant, the doctor got an heartbeat from the baby and the ultrasound also showed some movements! The baby who is now an 11-year-old boy is an honor student in Xavier.

Another story that she shared with me is about her husband. A’s husband owns a restaurant and there are times that her husband will have to stay out late to check on the operations of the restaurant. One night, when he was about get on the car, he suddenly had a very strong urge to go back and check on the Kuan Yin altar that A insisted be installed in his office. He just had this nagging feeling that he left something inside, it almost feels like he was being called to go back in by an unseen ‘force’. He thought to himself he might have left incense lighted, which might cause some fire. So he decided to go back in the restaurant. As soon as he stepped inside the restaurant he heard a very loud crashing noise, so loud, that some of the diners ducked down!

When A’s husband looked as to what happened, he saw that a large truck and another car crushed his own car! What happened was a drunk truck driver lost control of his truck, hit a car, which also hit A’s husband’s car. The whole driver side of A’s car was flattened! If he were in the car he would have died already or seriously injured. A said that when she saw the car she cried because she knew that if her husband was in the car he would have died already.

After the incident, that’s when A’s husband realized that he didn’t even light an incense, because he was really not in the habit of lighting an incense in the evening. It is simply not safe.

According to A both she and her husband believes that he was ‘called’ by Kuan Yin so that he wouldn’t have to be in the car when the accident happened.

A and her family always wears the image of Kuan Yin as pendant. This is just two stories from a single person; however, there are a lot more Kuan Yin miracle stories that can be shared.

Kuan Yin1




People who have read my earlier posts knows of my devotion to the ‘Great Sage, Equal of Heaven’ the Monkey God or Monkey King called Sun Wukong. Sun Wukong is a Taoist celestial being who became really wild whom the Buddha pacified. However, it was really Kuan Yin who paved the way for Sun Wukong to be a Buddha. She did this out of her extreme compassion for Sun Wukong who at that time was already condemned for an eternal imprisonment. Kuan Yin did this not just for Sun Wukong but also for other immortals. Westerners largely look at this story as some sort of fantasy, but to Taoist and Chinese Buddhist they have high regard for the said story and believe it actually happened in the celestial world. However, the point here is not whether the story is true or not, but it hopes to illustrate the depth of Kuan Yin’s mercy and compassion that she was able to subdue one of the most powerful Taoist Immortal/Deity. It should be noted that it was implied in the story mentioned above that should Kuan Yin had to ‘fight’ with Sun Wukong, her power would not have match that of Sun Wukong. However, her real power is not with her strength as a Bodhisattva, although, I must clarify, she is very powerful, but more than her physical and celestial strength, is the power of her mercy and compassion that is said to be infinite!kuan-yin21

However, Kuan Yin or Kuan Shi Yin (Guan Shi Yin) which means ‘The One Who Hears the Cries of the World” has a very unique transformation. Kuan Yin is Avalokitesvara in India and Cherezig in Tibet. Nevertheless, Kuan Yin is the female transformation of the said Bodhisattva. I need not talk about who Avalokitesvara in detail now because Kuan Yin is Avalokitesvara (also spelled as Avalokiteshvara), Avalokitesvara is Chenrezig, Chenrezig is Kuan Yin, they may have different names, and in the case of Kuan Yin she may have a different image but they’re one and the same. All the attributes of Kuan Yin are that of Avalokitesvara and Chenrezig, all the attributes of Avalokitesvara and Chenrezig is that of Kuan Yin!

Nevertheless, allow me to state that Kuan Yin in the form of Avalokitesvara first started in India, the land where Buddhism really started. He/She is a Bodhisattva, which is traditionally considered a little less important compared to the Buddhas. However, Avalokitesvara gained reverence equal to that of Buddhas and to some extent, specially amongst Chinese Buddhist, exceeds that of the Buddhas because as the Historical Buddha Sakyamuni himself shared through various sutras, Avalokitesvara should have been a Buddha already, however, he refused Buddhahood and wished to remain a Bodhisattva for the welfare of all sentient beings.

The transformation of Avalokitesvara to Kuan Yin is in itself a very interesting story. There are various stories about how Avalokitesvara became Kuan Yin.Kuan Yin2

One story is that in relation to Tripitaka Monk Xuan Zang who traveled to India to get some Buddhist texts that he can share with his countrymen. When he wrote about his journey he always refers to the Bodhisattva of Compassion as a female Kuan Yin, some people believes that this is one of the first time that Avalokitesvara is addressed as Kuan Shi Yin, which later was shortened into Kuan Yin. In his account of the manifestations of Kuan Yin she always appear as a miraculous being and always under miraculous circumstances.

Another story is that of Princess Miao Shan. I’ll skip the story at the moment, and I’ll share her story as written in Wikipedia at the bottom of this post.

Still, another story about Avalokitesvara’s transformation to Kuan Yin is quite simple and not as popular because it lacks the theatrical and flair of the other stories.

When Buddhism was first introduced to China, the religion is largely Taoism, which has Immortals or Deities that are very powerful and ‘masculine’. The compassionate deities and immortals are mostly female deities. Because of this the Chinese had difficulty in fully comprehending the attributes of Avalokitesvara.

Buddhist monks prayed to Kuan Yin to ask for her guidance. Some text says that Kuan Yin spoke to some Buddhist monks through their dreams and instructed them to introduce him as Kuan Yin with a female form. Other text states that they were able to divine this through an Avalokitesvara/Kuan Yin oracle. Whether it was through a dream or through an oracle, it was clear that the Buddhist monks who brought Buddhism to China started the female manifestation of Avalokitesvara. As we know this image became popularly known as Kuan Yin.

This raises the question as to why when experiencing Avalokitesvara’s miracle or vision, people see her as Kuan Yin. According to the explanation of a Chinese Buddhist monk, this is because Avalokitesvara will always appear in the form that people will understand or easily relate to.

I personally believe that the last story is the real reason why Avalokitesvara became Kuan Yin. It is because they need to put an image of mercy and compassion, and because of this Avalokitesvara transformed into Kuan Yin.

Avalokitesvara as Kuan Yin became so popular that even Tibetan Buddhist who is extremely familiar with Avalokitesvara, as a male Bodhisattva would still mention Kuan Yin. In fact, the biggest image of Avalokitesvara in the world is that of Kuan Yin which is found China.

This also answers why some images of Kuan Yin depicts her as a flat-chested handsome young prince.

kuanyin1

One of the semi-masculine form of Kuan Yin.

If you’re interested to know about the Legend of Princess Miao Shan please read on the following that was lifted from Wikipedia.

Another story from the Precious Scroll of Fragrant Mountain describes an incarnation of Guanyin as the daughter of a cruel king who wanted her to marry a wealthy but uncaring man. The story is usually ascribed to the research of the Buddhist monk Chiang Chih-ch’i during the 11th century CE. The story is likely to have a Taoist origin. Chiang Chih-ch’i, when he penned the work, believed that the Guanyin we know today was actually a Buddhist princess called Miaoshan (妙善), who had a religious following on Fragrant Mountain. Despite this there are many variants of the story in Chinese mythology.

According to the story, after the king asked his daughter Miao Shan to marry the wealthy man, she told him that she would obey his command, so long as the marriage eased three misfortunes.

The king asked his daughter what were the three misfortunes that the marriage should ease. Miaoshan explained that the first misfortune the marriage should ease was the suffering people endure as they age. The second misfortune it should ease was the suffering people endure when they fall ill. The third misfortune it should ease was the suffering caused by death. If the marriage could not ease any of the above, then she would rather retire to a life of religion forever.

When her father asked who could ease all the above, Miao Shan pointed out that a doctor was able to do all of these.

Her father grew angry as he wanted her to marry a person of power and wealth, not a healer. He forced her into hard labor and reduced her food and drink but this did not cause her to yield.

Every day she begged to be able to enter a temple and become a nun instead of marrying. Her father eventually allowed her to work in the temple, but asked the monks to give her the toughest chores in order to discourage her. The monks forced Miao Shan to work all day and all night, while others slept, in order to finish her work. However, she was such a good person that the animals living around the temple began to help her with her chores. Her father, seeing this, became so frustrated that he attempted to burn down the temple. Miao Shan put out the fire with her bare hands and suffered no burns. Now struck with fear, her father ordered her to be put to death.

In one version of this legend, when Guanyin was executed, a supernatural tiger took her to one of the more hell-like realms of the dead. However, instead of being punished by demons like the other inmates, Guanyin played music, and flowers blossomed around her. This completely surprised the head demon. The story says that Guanyin, by merely being in that hell, turned it into a paradise.

A variant of the legend says that Miao Shan allowed herself to die at the hand of the executioner. According to this legend, as the executioner tried to carry out her father’s orders, his axe shattered into a thousand pieces. He then tried a sword which likewise shattered. He tried to shoot Miao Shan down with arrows but they all veered off.

Finally in desperation he used his hands. Miao Shan, realising the fate that the executioner would meet at her father’s hand should she fail to let herself die, forgave the executioner for attempting to kill her. It is said that she voluntarily took on the massive karmic guilt the executioner generated for killing her, thus leaving him guiltless. It is because of this that she descended into the Hell-like realms. While there, she witnessed first-hand the suffering and horrors that the beings there must endure, and was overwhelmed with grief. Filled with compassion, she released all the good karma she had accumulated through her many lifetimes, thus freeing many suffering souls back into Heaven and Earth. In the process, that Hell-like realm became a paradise. It is said that Yanluo, King of Hell, sent her back to Earth to prevent the utter destruction of his realm, and that upon her return she appeared on Fragrant Mountain.

Another tale says that Miao Shan never died, but was in fact transported by a supernatural tiger, believed to be the Deity of the Place, to Fragrant Mountain.

The Legend of Miao Shan usually ends with Miao Chuang Yen, Miao Shan’s father, falling ill with jaundice. No physician was able to cure him. Then a monk appeared saying that the jaundice could be cured by making a medicine out of the arm and eye of one without anger. The monk further suggested that such a person could be found on Fragrant Mountain. When asked, Miao Shan willingly offered up her eyes and arms. Miao Chuang Yen was cured of his illness and went to the Fragrant Mountain to give thanks to the person. When he discovered that his own daughter had made the sacrifice, he begged for forgiveness. The story concludes with Miaoshan being transformed into the Thousand Armed Guanyin, and the king, queen and her two sisters building a temple on the mountain for her. She began her journey to heaven and was about to cross over into heaven when she heard a cry of suffering from the world below. She turned around and saw the massive suffering endured by the people of the world. Filled with compassion, she returned to Earth, vowing never to leave till such time as all suffering has ended.

After her return to Earth, Guanyin was said to have stayed for a few years on the island of Mount Putuo where she practised meditation and helped the sailors and fishermen who got stranded. Guanyin is frequently worshipped as patron of sailors and fishermen due to this. She is said to frequently becalm the sea when boats are threatened with rocks. After some decades Guanyin returned to Fragrant Mountain to continue her meditation.

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

The Four Heavenly Kings: Getting to Know Four Powerful Buddhist Gods that Helps Bestow Wealth, Success, Peace, and Protection.

Published Agosto 30, 2017 by jptan2012

Today is a very good day and an exciting day (please note that actual writing and date of posting are usually different from each other) for me and in a way for my regular readers and believers of Feng Shui and Buddhism it should be a good day for you also, because today is the day I was told by my Guru Lama to share with you about the Four Heavenly Kings.four heavenly kings

The Four Heavenly Kings has been featured in numerous Buddhist Sutras, one of which is in The Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva; Earth Store Bodhisattva is also known as Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva or Di Zhang Pu Sa. In this particular sutra, Sakyamuni Buddha (The Historical Buddha) directly addressed the Four Heavenly Kings to help propagate the Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva. They were also prominently mentioned in the highly revered Golden Light Sutra.

It is said that those who recite the Golden Light Sutra will be protected by the Four Heavenly Kings themselves. Furthermore, those who recite and keep the Lotus Sutra will also be protected by the Four Heavenly Kings.

From this we can see that the Four Heavenly Kings are powerful protector Buddhist gods, however, as you read on you will that they don’t only protect us but they each also have a specific function which is different from each other.

At this point, I would like to clarify that the Four Heavenly Kings are gods in the Buddhist pantheon; it means they are not yet Bodhisattvas or Buddhas, and they serve the Buddhas or Bodhisattvas.

Again, The Four Heavenly Kings are Buddhist gods, each of who watches over their assigned cardinal direction of the world. The cardinal directions are East, West, North, and South. In Chinese they are originally known or called as “Fēng Tiáo Yǔ Shùn” (風調雨順), which literally translates to “Good climate”, but in the translation in the Chinese version of sutras they are called “Sì Dà Tiānwáng” (四大天王) which means “Four Great Heavenly Kings”.four heavenly kings 2

In most Chinese Buddhist Temples, one will normally see the THE HEAVENLY KINGS HALL. This is usually one of the first most majestic halls one will see.

The Four Heavenly Kings resides in Mt. Sumeru, a celestial and cosmic mountain where the heavens are. They are also the protector of the world and they fight evil, each of the 4 Heavenly Kings are able to command a legion of supernatural creatures to protect the Dharma or people who follow the Dharma.

Each of the Four Heavenly Kings serves Sakra, the of the devas (gods) of the Trayastrimsha Heaven. In Buddhism there are many heavens, and the Tranyastrimsha Heaven is the heaven nearest to our world, which is called Jambvudpiva is Buddhist sutras.

Although they are more commonly called as the Four Heavenly Kings, each one of them has a name and their specific directions and functions. Allow me to introduce to you the Four Heavenly Kings:

VAISRAVANA (He Who Hears Everything)Vaisravana.

  • Is the chief of the Four Heavenly Kings and is the main protector of the cardinal direction North. He is sometimes likened to Bodhisattva Kuan Yin (also spelled or called as Quan Yin, Guan Yin, Kuan Shi Yin, Guan Shi Yin, Quan Shi Yin, Avalokitesvara, Kannon, Chenrezig, Bodhisattva of Compassion, Goddess of Mercy) whose literal translation is THE WHO HEAR THE CRIES OF THE WORLD.
  • Vaisravana is also known as Kubera, Namtose (Namthose), Vessavana, Thao Kuwen, Wetsawan, Wetsuwan, Wéthawún Nat Min, Duō Wén Tiānwáng.
  • Vaisravana is the rule of water or rain, which is also the element that represents wealth or money. The umbrella or the pagoda are his symbolic weapons. Vaisravana is considered as a very powerful god of wealth.
  • In fact, Vaisravana rules over the famous gods of weatlh, which are the Five Dzambhalas (also spelled as Dzambhala, Dzambala, Jambala, Jambhala, Zambhala, Zambala) namely Red Dzambhala, Yellow Dzambhala, White Dzambhala, Black or Blue Dzambhala, and Green Dzambhala. He rules over the Dzambhalas amongst other Yaksha (also spelled as Yaksa) which are generals of the heavenly realm.
  • Vaisravana is often associated with the colors yellow and green.
  • Symbols of Vaisravana: Umbrella, Stupa, Pagoda, Mongoose
  • Cardinal Direction: North

VIRUDHAKA (He Who Causes To Grow)Virudhaka

  • Is the king of the South. He is the ruler of the wind. And is the god who helps cause good growth of roots or crops.
  • His symbolic weapon is the sword, which he carries in his right hand to protect the Dharma and also to symbolize power over ignorance.
  • Virudhaka is also known as Virūḷhaka, Thao Wirunhok, Virúlaka Nat Min, Zēng Zhǎng Tiānwáng, Zōchō-ten, Jeungjang-cheonwang,
  • Virudhaka rules over Kumbhanda, which are a group of dwarfish spirits and is considered as one of the lesser deities in Buddhism.
  • Virudhaka is often associated with the color blue.
  • Symbol of Virudhaka: Sword
  • Cardinal Direction: South

DHRTARASTRA (He Who Upholds the Realm)Dhrtarastra

  • Is the king that rules over East. He is also considered as the God of Music.
  • His symbolic weapon is a stringed instrument called pipa.
  • It is said that Dhrtarastra uses music to convert all sentient beings to Buddhism. While all of the Four Heavenly Kings are harmonious and compassionate, Dhrtarastra is considered to be a god that helps promotes harmony and compassion.
  • Dhrtarastra is also known as Dhrutharashṭa, Thao Thatarot, Daddáratá Nat Min, Chí Guó Tiānwáng, Jikoku-ten, Jiguk-cheonwang, Yülkhorsung.
  • Dhrtarastra rule over the gandharvas, which are male nature spirits that has superb heavenly and celestial musical skills. They are part animal usually a bird or a horse, and acts as messenger between gods and humans.
  • Dhrtarastra are often associated with the color white.
  • Symbol of Dhrtarastra: Pipa
  • Cardinal Direction: East.

VIRUPAKSA ( He Who Sees All)Virupaksa

  • Is the king that rules over the West. He is considered as the one who sees everything that happens in the Dharma world.
  • His symbolic weapons are snake or a red cord that is representative of a dragon.
  • It is said the Virupaksa watches over us in the sky, and that when we solemnly call on him in time of danger, he will guard and protect us. And if you are not Buddhist and for some reason knows a lot of Buddhism, it is said that it Virupaksa is the one who feeds you these informations.
  • Virupaksa is also known as Virūpakkha, Virūpaksha, Thao Wirupak, Virúpekka Nat Min, Guăng Mù Tiānwáng, Kōmoku-ten, Gwangmok-cheonwang,
  • Virupaksa rules over the Nagas, which is a deity that has taken the form of a very great snake.
  • Virupaksa is often associated with the color red.
  • Symbols of Virupaksa: Snake, Stupa, Pearl.
  • Cardinal Direction: West

According to Guru Lama praying to the Four Heavenly Kings will provide us with wealth and prosperity (thru King Vaisravana), success and progress (thru King Virudhaka), peace and harmony (thru King Dhrtarastra) and, good health and protection from danger (thru King Virupaksa). Placing their images at home also serves as one of the most powerful protection amulet one can have.

Guru Lama shares with me a story about how when he was assigned by the Dalai Lama to leave Dharamsala, India to help spread Buddhism and build temple in other parts of Asia, he has personally tapped into the blessings and power of the Four Heavenly Kings.

That was a few decades ago and when he left India, he was only given small amount money to travel and spread the Dharma and eventually build a temple. Guru Lama said he was a little apprehensive because a few years back they just left Tibet because of Chinese oppression, and when he was asked to leave again to spread the Dharma, he was apprehensive and really nervous even though he was excited and felt honored to be entrusted with the task of spreading the Dharma.

A few months before leaving India, he started preparing himself physically and mentally to this overwhelming task. He would always meditate on the teaching of the different sutras and would always draw strength from Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (aka Kuan Yin, Quan Yin, Guan Yin, Kuan Shi Yin, Quan Shi Yin, Kuan Shi Yin, Chenrezig, Kannon) and Bodhisattva Vajrapani. One night in his sleep he received a vision that Vajrapani Bodhisattva visited him and that he was shown the images of the Four Heavenly Kings. Upon waking up he knew then that he would need the help of the Four Heavenly Kings to help progress in his endeavor.

This totally make sense, because if you go back to the description of the Four Heavenly Kings, he will need wealth and prosperity to help build a temple, success and progress so that people will see the good side of what he was about to do, peace and harmony so that he can transmute that feeling to the people around him, good health for this overwhelming task, and protection to ensure that he doesn’t come to harm’s way in spreading the Dharma.

And so my Guru Lama started worshipping and praising the Four Heavenly Kings by making offerings to them and by chanting the mantras of the Four Heavenly Kings. He also vigorously recited The Golden Light Sutra, and The Lotus Sutra (full title is called “Sūtra on the White Lotus of the Sublime Dharma”). And the rest is history. According to Guru Lama he was able to become an instrument into building a temple and building a Sangha (Buddhist community) with relative ease. Money for the temple just kept on pouring in.

Note: To this day Guru Lama still actively participate in building temples. The stipulated donation from the amulets goes to the feeding of the monks or building temples or making of images of Buddhas or Bodhisattvas.

And so today, again for the first time, I want to share with you a powerful mantra that will help you attract wealth and prosperity, success and progress, peace and harmony, lastly, good health and protection, you can recite the mantras of each of the Four Heavenly Kings.

Here are the mantras of each of the Four Heavenly Kings:

  1. For Wealth and Prosperity recite the Mantra of King Vaisravana: OM VAISRAVANA YE SOHA
  2. For Success and Progress in Life recite the Mantra of King Virudhaka: OM VIRUDHAKA KUMBHANDADHIPATA YE SOHA
  3. For Peace and Harmony recite the Mantra of King Dhrtarastra: OM DHRTARASTRA RALAPRAVADHAHA SOHA
  4. For Good Health and Protection recite the Mantra of King Virupaksa: OM VIRUPAKSA NAGA DHIPATA YE SOHA

You can read the following posts to know more about the Vaisravana _ Dzambhala Wealth Amulet:

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

 

 

 

Basic Buddhism 5: The Evolution of Acquiring An Amulet

Published Disyembre 31, 2015 by jptan2012

Have you wondered why when ‘buying’ an amulet Buddhist, especially Chinese Buddhist, will always use the word ‘invite’ instead of buy?

Is it only because most Buddhists are uncomfortable with the thought of paying for an amulet?

The truth is there is a deeper explanation to this.

In the olden times, an amulet was never bought; a person can only acquire an amulet if a Buddhist monk or when a person who has it has chosen a person to receive it. For amulets that are kept in the temple and are to be given to the people, they will have to express to the Buddhist monk or to the abbot or abbess of the temple their desire to invite the said amulet. The abbot or abbess together with the senior Buddhist monks and nuns will either then do an assessment whether the person is worthy of receiving the said amulet. Usually the person will be assessed as to whether they are good member of the Sangha (community of the Buddhist society), and whether they have sincerely contributed to the temple. Contribution here is not just about money, although it may include it in form of donation to the temple, but more importantly, how much they have contributed in terms of service to temple. For example, do they volunteer in the activities of the temple, do they help clean the temple, do they make offerings of flowers, do they help cook food for the Buddhist monks or nuns or even the Sangha? Since the Buddhist monks or nuns are familiar with the members of the Sangha they are able to make the assessment base on quality of the offering and not quantity, meaning, they are able to assess appropriately. They are not judging base on the quantity of the offering but rather quality.

Allow me to explain the last few statements further. Buddhist Student A and Buddhist Student B are members of a temple. Buddhist Student A, goes to the temple every afternoon and cleans the temple for 3 hours. Buddhist Student B, goes to the temple every afternoon and helps do chores for 30 minutes. But Buddhist Student A is a rich person who doesn’t do anything and Buddhist Student B is a poor peasant who has to work for 10 hours a day. So off hand, you’ll see that Buddhist Student B has so much more ‘quality’ in his/her service offering. Of course, Buddhist monks and nuns takes into consideration a lot more factors, but off hand as an example, I hope what I illustrated is clear.

So it doesn’t mean that when a person donated 10 gold coins, he will get the amulet. He may have only donated 1 silver coin, but taking into consideration all the other factors he might be so much worth it.

Sometimes, the process is done through a divination. This is especially true if there is only a single or limited amulet and several people have expressed interest to invite the amulet, and after an assessment several people were proven to be worthy. I remember, several years back, I was still a young boy then, there’s a special amulet that is to be given to a member of the Sangha. The temple has pre – selected possible recipient, and my mom was one of them. They were asked to go to the temple at a certain date and time, and there was a ritual that was made to whom should the amulet be given. My mom got it.

I have to repeat, when I said quality it doesn’t mean also which one has given nicer things, but what is being assessed is sincerity and capability of the person.

Surangama Mantra Amulet N

Pure Land Buddhists believes that when you wear a Surangama Mantra Amulet, heavenly beings that has an affinity with you will hover over you.

As time goes – by, and the world has become more urbanized, this kind of process slowly changed, because the norm now is that every adult goes to work. The world has been interconnected and it has also become extremely competitive. We are all so busy earning a living. And so, acquiring an amulet has change also. Now, especially, in the last 15 to 20 years, inviting an amulet by way of paying for it has become acceptable provided there is some guideline.

The money is used as a donation for the consumerable materials used. Not the materials that are holy. For example, in the case of the Vajrapani Ruel (1) or Surangama Mantra Amulet (1), what were factored in the ‘price’ are the materials that can be paid for and not the holy materials like relics, etc.

The amount reflects the cost of transportation. A stipulated amount to be used for donation either to a temple or monastery, like in the case of the Surangama Mantra Amulet (2), the amount is used to build a temple. Or as an offering of an image of a Buddha, which is the case for the Vajrapani Ruel (2) and now the Illness Suppression Amulet. People are having easier access now to these amulets, but because they no longer serve the Sangha or community of Buddhist students or followers, they are requested to give a stipulated amount in return.

Illness Suppression Amulet3

The Illness Suppression Amulet or Illness Protection Amulet is a special highly consecrated amulet made by my Guru Lama as a cure for the Illness Star a star that also causes accidents. It has the energies of the Medicine Buddha, Namgyalma Buddha, Amitayus Buddha and White Umbrella Goddess. Furthermore, the small black thing you see at the bottom of the glass amulet holder is a Dharma Pill, which is made from a second – class relic of a confirmed holy lama. It also has a small amount of ash from the last Medicine Buddha holy initiation conducted by my Guru Lama, and aside from individual special consecration, the whole amulet was further consecrated under the Tooth Relic of Shakyamuni Buddha.

In some cases, some of these amulets are still distributed the old way and that would largely depend on the decision of the Buddhist monk in charge of the said amulet. For example, the Vajrapani Ruel (3) is not available thru a donation in Tibet and Nepal, no matter how much money you have you won’t be able to acquire it. You will have to be an active member of the Sangha and has made contribution either of food or service before you are even considered to possibly have it. The first few months when I wrote about the Vajrapani Ruel (4), I was not allowed by my Guru Lama to invite the Vajrapani Ruel (5) even if I was willing to give the stipulated amount for the cost of inviting it. It was only after several months that he decided to give one to me for free, as part of my service, but I still opted to give the stipulated amount for the cost of inviting the Vajrapani Ruel (6).

The Illness Suppression Amulet, which was specially made by my Guru Lama for the ruling Illness Star this year, is the same, the amount stipulated for its invitation will be partially donated to feeding of some monks, and making an image of a small Buddha or part of a bigger Buddha.

But a lot of the Buddhist monks still prioritized those who have sincerely contributed to the Buddhist community over those who can just simply pay for it. My Guru Lama although forced to accept the stipulated amount of donation for the invitation of some amulets like the Vajrapani Ruel (7) and Illness Suppression Amulet, he still follows the age – old tradition of distributing amulets, especially when said amulets are extremely limited.

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

 

“The Last Supper” in the Dining Room: Good or Bad Feng Shui? (Part 2)

Published Oktubre 3, 2015 by jptan2012

In my preceding post, I talked about solving some family problems by taking out the image of THE LAST SUPPER, which a lot of Catholic Filipinos loves to put in their dining room.

As I said, I was hesitant to write about it because people might brand me as anti – Catholic or anti – Christian, or worst, anti – Christ. Please note that I’m not, and DS whose story I shared on the preceding post remains to be a devout Catholic. And maybe it is worth mentioning that my mom, my aunts still remains to Chinese Buddhist – Catholic.

But let me share why I think that the image of THE LAST SUPPER sheds of bad Feng Shui. First, we have to take into context the story of THE LAST SUPPER.last supper

THE LAST SUPPER is an interpretation of Leonardo Da Vinci of the last supper of Jesus Christ with his disciples. The picture projects betrayal, denial, the breaking of relationships, sadness and suffering, and to some extent death. Judas is betraying Jesus for silver, Peter is about to deny Jesus, the disciples are about to be ‘broken’ to different factions, and Jesus was sad and already suffering from emotional pain. Lastly, it was a prelude to his death.

Need I say more?

I will not deny that to this day if people call me to ask for the Vajrapani Ruel to help solve their family disharmony problems, or they are usually betrayed by people, I usually ask them whether they have THE LAST SUPPER in their house. If yes, I tell them of my opinion and suggest that they take it out. Sometime they won’t and will opt and push for to get the Vajrapani Ruel. But those that I was able to convince to hold off getting the Vajrapani Ruel and simply try taking out the image of THE LAST SUPPER, that simple act usually solves their problems. But I would like to stress that I maintain that I respect the belief of people who uses the image of THE LAST SUPPER as an image to remind them of God’s love.

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

A Feng Shui Gift of Protection for Your Mom on Mother’s Day!

Published Mayo 12, 2012 by jptan2012

Several of my readers emailed me to inquire as to what is the best Feng Shui gift to be given to a mother.

The truth is Feng Shui is personal and while there are some Feng Shui recommendations that can be ‘generally’ given, the real essence of Feng Shui is quite personal and one has to look at the Bazi of the person.

Our mom is the most precious gift we have and I believe the most valuable gift we can give our mom is the gift of protection. I personally am very thankful that I thought of giving a gift of protection to my mom, and I didn’t realize then that it is something that would save her life.

I have been practicing and studying Feng Shui then, when all of a sudden I thought of giving my mom a special protection Feng Shui charm or amulet. She was scheduled to go out-of-town with her sister and my cousin, and I thought I’ll give her something that she may use as a protection.

Two days after receiving the Feng Shui protection amulet, she fell ill. She had diarrhea, and high fever. It was so bad that we have to call a doctor friend to see her at home, on top of that she has to fed by my sister and was confined in her room for a complete bed rest. My sister who is also familiar with Feng Shui told me that I might have given my mom a wrong Feng Shui amulet. When I assured her that I’m sure that I gave her something that’s appropriate for my mom, she inquired then whether I did clean off the Feng Shui amulet of any negative chi that it might have acquired since the amulet was made of a crystal. I assured her that I cleansed of the amulet from any chi it has acquired.

We decided to let my mom take off the amulet. But since she was still ill, she wasn’t able to join my aunt and cousin. Little did we know then that the illness would save her from a terrible accident.

Without going into detail, my aunt and cousin had an accident. It was so bad that they were badly injured. My mom would have been in the same car if she didn’t get ill.

I would like to point out to points here. First, an amulet may work in a seemingly bad way, but in effect it is just preventing you from a bigger harm, and second, I believe that gift of protection saved my mom.

I still believe that that was the best gift I’ve ever given my mom.

So if you’re inclined to give a Feng Shui gift for your mom, why don’t it be a gift of protection.

There are several protection Feng Shui amulet or charm that you can give like Sun Wukong pendant, Kuan Kong pendant, etc. However, I believe the following are very good for mothers.

KUAN YIN PENDANT. Kuan Yin, for those who are not familiar,  is like the Virgin Mary of the Buddhist. But I need to stress that Kuan Yin is a Celestial Being although some people do believe that she came to earth in the form of Princess Miao Shan. Also, if we are to talk about Kuan Yin and the Virgin Mary as a concept, Kuan Yin is so much older then the Virgin Mary. In fact, some people believe that the concept of Virgin Mary was derived from that of Kuan Yin.

This is from my personal collection. The reason I love this pendants so much is because it has a inscription of the Heart Sutra at the back. I wear the smaller one everyday.

I think all mothers should have a Kuan Yin pendant or an image of Kuan Yin because Kuan Yin for the Chinese Buddhist represents the most ideal trait of a mother – infinite compassion, specially to her ‘children’.

If you want to know more about Kuan Yin, please do read my previous posts – ‘KUAN YIN: THE ONE WHO HEAR THE CRIES OF THE WORLD’; ‘UNDERSTANDING MERCY AND COMPASSION: THE TRANSFORMATION OF AVALOKITESVARA TO KUAN YIN’; and ‘PAYING HOMAGE TO KUAN YIN, THE BUDDHA OF COMPASSION’.

THE SYMBOLIC SCRIPT OF AMITABHA BUDDHA’S MANTRA. Amitabha Buddha’s mantra which is OM AMI DEWA HRIH is one of the most powerful protection mantra. Wearing or carrying a symbolic script of the said mantra will continuously protect your mothers.

This is the symbolic script of the mantra of Amitabha Buddha, which is also a very good protection mantra. If you’re budget is tight, you can simply print this symbolic script, put in a red envelope and give it to your mom for her to carry everyday.

To know more about MANTRAS, please do read my previous post called – ‘MANTRA: THE INSTRUMENT TO TAP THE POWER OF THE SYMBOLIC SOUND, SCRIPT, AND THOUGHT’. 

GODDESS TARA PENDANT OR THE SYMBOLIC SCRIPT OF GODDESS TARA’S MANTRA. Goddess Tara is also called the Swift Liberator, just like our mothers, Goddess Tara is very quick to response to our plea. Goddess Tara is very good for mothers who has teenage kids and are starting to explore an ‘independent’ life by going out more often on their own. Every time a mother starts worrying about their kids who may still be out late in the evening, can call on Goddess Tara to ensure that their kids are kept safe.

To know more about Goddess Tara you can read the following posts – ‘GODDESS TARA, THE MOTHER OF SWIFT LIBERATION’ and ‘PAYING HOMAGE TO GODDESS TARA’.

This is a jade Goddess Tara pendant from my personal collection.

One other factor to ensure that your mom’s luck is kept intact and that she’s continuously protected through Feng Shui is to ensure that the Southwest section of your house should be ‘present’. Meaning, it should be habited and used, and that area do not function as a storage area. It’s also good to keep the Southwest section of the house well lit to help ensure that the mom of the house always has good chi.

Feng Shui Tips for the Working Person

Published Abril 30, 2012 by jptan2012

After discussing the different FENG SHUI TIPS FOR THE WORK PLACE (1 and 2), I now would like to share the different Taoist Deities or Immortals and Buddhas or Bodhisattvas who can help you with your career and work environment.

Some of the things that I’m going to mention here are things that I’ve discussed in the past, but I believe that they are worth repeating.

For me, one of the most powerful Taoist God who also happens to be a Chinese Buddhist Buddha is the ‘Great Sage, Equal of Heaven’, the Monkey God or Monkey King called Sun Wukong. I have written about Sun Wukong several times in various posts, but if you wish to know more about him you can read a post solely dedicated to Sun Wukong. But it is worth repeating here that Sun Wukong is a very good strategist, furthermore, one of his intrinsic qualities is that he is loyal to those who shows reverence to him and worship him. Having an image of Sun Wukong either as a tabletop image or pendant will give you a competitive edge in all your undertakings. Furthermore, Sun Wukong is also a very powerful protector so having his image will ensure that your chances of getting backstabbed or swindled are greatly minimize. But more than that, Sun Wukong is also a very powerful wealth god so having his image will ensure good salary and help ensure career advancement.

Another powerful Taoist and Buddhist god is Kuan Kong (also called Guan Gong, Kuan Ti, or Guan Ti). Kuan Kong is a historical Bodhisattva and Taoist immortal. I’ve also written intensively about Kuan Kong, and you can know more about him by reading my previous post about Kuan Kong. His difference with Sun Wukong is that Kuan Kong is more appropriate for people who are in power or significant position. But other than that they’re almost the same in qualities, attributes, and the type of blessing that they bestow upon those who tap into their powers.

If your workplace environment is very tense and needs a lot of harmony, you should have the image of the Maitreya Buddha, better known as the Happy Fat Buddha. The Maitreya Buddha, will ensure that there is harmony in an otherwise tense and stressful environment. You can either place an image of the Maitreya Buddha on your table or wear one as a pendant. The Maitreya Buddha will also help ensure that you focus on the positive aspects of a ‘problem’. Furthermore, the Maitreya Buddha is also a very powerful wealth god, so he can ensure good money luck. If you want to know more about the Maitreya Buddha please read my previous post by clicking here.

Just a word of caution, I mentioned here several times that you could put the images of Kuan Kong, Sun Wukong, and Maitreya Buddha on your table. However, you have to ensure that when on your table that you don’t ‘show disrespect’ by constantly hitting them with your papers, calculators, etc. If possible, it is better to place them somewhere that they won’t be disturbed.

Kuan Yin: The One Who Hears the Cries of the World.

Published Pebrero 21, 2012 by jptan2012

Kuan Yin, also spelled as Quan Yin, is a Bodhisattva of Compassion. A lot of people refer to her as the Buddha of Compassion, which is technically wrong in terms of terminology, but absolutely right when refers to her true being.

Kuan Yin (also spelled as Quan Yin, Guan Yin, Gwan Yin, Kwan Yin) is also known as the Goddess of Mercy, Buddha of Compassion, Bodhisattva of Compassion.

The truth is Quan Yin or Kuan Yin is a Bodhisattva who refuses to enter Buddhahood because of her desire to help all sentient beings to achieve nirvana or the Buddhist equivalent of heaven.

Kuan Yin (also spelled as Quan Yin, Kwan Yin, Guan Yin, Gwan Yin) is  of mercy and compassion. It is said, that her compassion towards sentient beings exceeds that of all the other Bodhisattvas combined. She is considered to be a source of unconditional love and a savior of sentient beings. When talking about Kuan Yin’s love for us, mankind is usually not used, because it is said that it is an underestimation of her compassion. Sentient beings is generally use because this also refers to other beings, other than just us humans, it refers to all living creatures that includes insects.

As a Bodhisattva, Kuan Yin pledges to response to all the cries and please of all beings, in fact, it is aid that even before you utter your plea, Kuan Yin would already have heard you and responded to your plea. Naturally, devotion to her will help hasten this, but you need not believe in her for her to reply to your pleas. The sutras that talked about Kuan Yin as a savior of both the spiritual and physical realm and when a person with deep negative karma call upon her, she will have cleanse and help this person from his karmic burden.

I don’t think that it’s an exaggeration to say that Kuan Yin’s popularity amongst Chinese Buddhist exceeds that of other Buddha and Bodhisattva. She is extremely popular and revered that Taoism has also ‘adopted’ her thus making her one of the most revered Taoist deities. It is not surprising to see Taoist temples having her image.

She is also extremely popular as being a merciful deity that some people wrongly address her as Goddess of Mercy.

There are a lot of miracles that are attributed to Kuan Yin. These miracles may range from the simple things like wanting to get a job, wanting to have a child to something really big and may seem like impossible.

My personal treasure trove of stories about Kuan Yin’s blessings and/or miracles is simply amazing. Not to mention stories shared with me by my friends, relatives, and acquaintances. You simply have to search the net and you’ll see a lot of stories about Kuan Yin’s miracles.

I’m not going to share a personal story because that will be a little self-serving. Instead, let me share with you a story of a woman who goes to the same temple that I go to. Let’s just call her A. A is a 40 something housewife. She said that she’s a devotee of Kuan Yin just like her mother. In fact, I’ll often see her make some offerings to Kuan Yin even if there’s no occasion such as the Kuan Yin feast day. I talked to her about her devotion to Kuan Yin and she clarified that while there are other small miracles that she can attribute to Kuan Yin, she believes that 2 of the important thing that happened in her life is due to Kuan Yin’s blessing. The first one is when she had her first child. It was a difficult pregnancy not only because it was her first child, but it was also a complicated pregnancy that almost got aborted several times. The worst part of the pregnancy happened on the 7th month. She had a severe case of bleeding that they thought she’d go into premature labor. On the way to the hospital, while her husband is driving, she and her mom just kept on calling Kuan Yin’s name while they mentally pray that Kuan Yin save her baby.

She was stabilized at the hospital but they can’t say the same were true for her baby. They are unable to detect the heartbeat of the baby and the ultrasound shows that the baby isn’t moving at all! After a while, the OB informed them that if another 15 minutes passed by with a heartbeat and/or a movement they would have to operate on her. By this time, she was almost hysterical, out of desperation; her mom took of her Kuan Yin pendant and gave it to A. A didn’t wear pendant but she ‘hold on’ to Kuan Yin, about 5 minutes after she ‘hold on’ to the pendant, the doctor got an heartbeat from the baby and the ultrasound also showed some movements! The baby who is now an 11-year-old boy is an honor student in Xavier.

Another story that she shared with me is about her husband. A’s husband owns a restaurant and there are times that her husband will have to stay out late to check on the operations of the restaurant. One night, when he was about get on the car, he suddenly had a very strong urge to go back and check on the Kuan Yin altar that A insisted be installed in his office. He just had this nagging feeling that he left something inside, it almost feels like he was being called to go back in by an unseen ‘force’. He thought to himself he might have left incense lighted, which might cause some fire. So he decided to go back in the restaurant. As soon as he stepped inside the restaurant he heard a very loud crashing noise, so loud, that some of the diners ducked down!

When A’s husband looked as to what happened, he saw that a large truck and another car crushed his own car! What happened was a drunk truck driver lost control of his truck, hit a car, which also hit A’s husband’s car. The whole driver side of A’s car was flattened! If he were in the car he would have died already or seriously injured. A said that when she saw the car she cried because she knew that if her husband was in the car he would have died already.

After the incident, that’s when A’s husband realized that he didn’t even light an incense, because he was really not in the habit of lighting an incense in the evening. It is simply not safe.

According to A both she and her husband believes that he was ‘called’ by Kuan Yin so that he wouldn’t have to be in the car when the accident happened.

A and her family always wears the image of Kuan Yin as pendant. This is just two stories from a single person; however, there are a lot more Kuan Yin miracle stories that can be shared.

You can also read my two other posts about Kuan Yin entitled UNDERSTANDING MERCY AND COMPASSION: THE TRANSFORMATION OF AVALOKITESVARA TO KUAN YIN and PAYING HOMAGE TO KUAN YIN, THE BUDDHA OF COMPASSION.

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