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Ksitigarbha Buddha is a Bodhisattva that Vowed to Help All Those Who Suffer in Hell and in this World!

Published Oktubre 6, 2013 by jptan2012

A few days ago I wrote and introduced you to the possible wonderful blessings of THE FOUR DHARMAKAYA RELIC MANTRAS, and the response has been truly overwhelming. Of course, regular readers are well familiar with WISH FULFILLING AND BUDDHA’S BLESSING MANTRA PENDANT, and the several personal testimonies of people who has requested for it. Sometimes, between THE FOUR DHARMAKAYA RELIC MANTRAS, WISH FULFILLING AND BUDDHA’S BLESSING MANTRA PENDANT, and the WEALTH AND MASTER PROTECTION PENDANT, which, unfortunately is no longer available for requests because of its price, I believe that there is no more excuse for us to go through any form of suffering. The truth Feng Shui, Taoism, and Buddhism has a lot of deities, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, not to mention power of symbols and mantras that can help alleviate us from any form of suffering.Ksitigarbha

However, why do many of us still suffer? Many of us still go through some form of suffering because of either of two things. One, it can be due to the fact that our house Feng Shui is bad, or it can be also due to karma, whether past life karma or recent karma. When I say recent karma, I refer to karma that is sowed during this current lifetime.

Nevertheless, still, we have a lot of Bodhisattva who have vowed to help uplift us from any form of suffering. First, of all these Bodhisattvas is the Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin or Avalokitesvara in Tibetan Buddhism. She remains to be the most popular and revered Bodhisattva. In fact, often times she’s referred to as the Bodhisattva of Compassion or Buddha of Compassion.

Today, allow me to introduce to you another such Bodhisattva, who in reality is already a Buddha but vowed to stay on as a Bodhisattva until such time there is no longer any soul in hell. I’m referring to Ksitigarbha Buddha, who again is actually a Bodhisattva.

Ksitigarbha Buddha, is usually depicted as a Buddhist monk, and for bigger temples, he usually has his own temple hall. In the Philippines, and smaller hall he is usually placed at the memorial halls of the dead or mausoleums this is because of his vow to save people from hell. Personally speaking, I believe this is a limitation of how Ksitigarbha should be perceived. A lot of Filipino – Chinese Buddhists thinks of Ksitigarbha only as a Bodhisattva of the souls of the dead. While it’s perfectly true and accurate, this belief doesn’t paint the whole picture of who Ksitigarbha truly is.Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva

Ksitigarbha Buddha or Dizang P’usa (also spelled as Ti Tsang P’usa, he is also called in Chinese as Dizang Wang P’usa or Ti Tsang Wang P’usa). There are a lot of translations of Ksitigarbha’s name in English, but the most common one is Earth Store.

Ksitigarbha Buddha or Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is known for his vow to take care take responsibility of souls that are experiencing hell. This is where the translation becomes a little muddy; because some people took it to mean the literal hell, and while they are not incorrect, they’re not entirely correct either. I personally believe the other translation, hell means suffering, whether these are the souls that are suffering when they are in – between transitions from one earth life to another, or it is suffering because of what we are going through here on earth. Some people seems to have forgotten that Ksitigarbha’s vow is to take responsibility for the enlightenment of all souls in the six worlds between the physical death of Gautama (Sakyamuni or Shakyamuni) Buddha (also known as the Historical Buddha) and the rise of Maitreya Buddha (also known as the Happy Buddha or the Future Buddha), with this vow is the vow of not entering Buddhahood until all hells are emptied.

KsitigarbhaI mentioned earlier that Ksitigarbha Buddha is second to Bodhisattva of Compassion, Kuan Yin in terms of ‘popularity’ and followers to East Asian Buddhist. What’s striking is that Kuan Yin, became a woman in China from the male form of Avalokitesvara.

Ksitigarbha also had a transformation of gender, however with Ksitigarbha, he was she before she became a he. Also, unlike Kuan Yin, it is believed that Ksitigarbha really became a human being.

Much of what we know about Ksitigarbha Buddha or Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is base on his own sutra, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Purvapranidhana Sutra, which is one of the most popular sutra in Mahayana Buddhism. It is said to have been spoke by Sakyamuni Buddha himself to the Trayastrimsa Heaven towards the end is earth life.ksitigarbha3

To this day it’s not clear whether the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Purvapranidhana Sutra has an Indian or Chinese origins. It was first believed that Tipitaka Master Siksananda, who is a famous Buddhist monk from Khotan who also provided a new translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra and the Lankavatara Sutra, translated it from the Sanskrit into Chinese during the Tang Dynasty in the 7th century. However, among all the sutras, Ksitigarbha Sutra strongly advocates filial piety, w/c was stereotype associated with Chinese culture. It talked about Ksitigarbha’s filial piety as a human or mortal, which lead to great vows to save all sentient being. Furthermore, no Sanskrit manuscript of Ksitigarbha’s sutras was ever found, which strengthen the belief that it is of Chinese origin.

According to his sutra, Ksitigarbha was a maiden in the distant past eons. He or she was of the Brahmin caste named Sacred Girl. She was said to have shown love and respect towards her parents, especially her mother. When her mother died, Sacred Girl became deeply troubled because her mother had been very slanderous towards the Triple Gem. Wanting to save her mother from the tremendous tortures of hell, Sacred Girl sold everything she has to buy offerings for the Buddha of her era. The Buddha then is known as the Buddha of the Flower of Meditation and Enlightenment. Remember that Sakyamuni Buddha was then still a Bodhisattva.

Some Buddhists, specially in japan and China (where the one child policy is forcing women to commit abortion), Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is considered as the Bodhisattva for the souls of babies who died.

Some Buddhists, specially in japan and China (where the one child policy is forcing women to commit abortion), Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is considered as the Bodhisattva for the souls of babies who died.

Sacred Girl would always make offerings and recitation of prayers to help save her mother’s soul. One day, while she was making an offering and prayers at the temple, she heard the Buddha of her era telling her to go home and recite his name in meditation if she truly wants to know how her mother was in the other world. She did what she was told and her consciousness through a vision was transported to a realm of Hell.  There she met the guardian of hell who informed her that through her offerings and fervent prayer, she has helped her mother accumulate enough merit to negate her karma and she has ascended to heaven where she awaits to be reborn. Sacred Girl was greatly comforted with this; however, she saw the suffering to the souls in Hell, which greatly affected her. She then made a vow to do her best to relieve the beings in hell of their suffering in her future lives.

It is normal that people will call Ksitiagrbha a Buddha even if he is actually a Bodhisattva. That is because like Kuan Yin, it's his choice to remain a Bodhisattva to help suffering people and sould.

It is normal that people will call Ksitiagrbha a Buddha even if he is actually a Bodhisattva. That is because like Kuan Yin, it’s his choice to remain a Bodhisattva to help suffering people and sould.

At this time Sacred Girl is already considered as living Bodhisattva, much like how some people consider the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and Lama Zopa Rinpoche to be a living Bodhisattva. When Sacred Girl left her physical body and went to heaven, she was given the chance to go back so she can start her vow to save souls. This time she chooses to be male monk. Before he left heaven to assume his new life as a monk, he found that her mother when she was still Sacred Girl would also go back to earth to take a life of a dog; this is because she has to earn a lesson from being slanderous about the Triple Gems.

Ksitigarbha as a monk seek out Sacred Girl’s mother who is now a dog. The dog often acted as Ksitigarbha’s guard, which is a way for Sacred Mother’s mom to repay Sacred Girl’s love.

Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is popularly depicted in two ways, one as a bald monk and the other one as a monk who wears a Five Leave Crown. He is depicted either seated or standing up on a lotus base. On his right hand is the Ringed Staff, which is carried by a lot of monks during his time. The Ringed Staff is also called the Alarm Staff; it is used to warn animals and insects that he is arriving so that he can avoid harming them by unintentionally stepping on them. In Feng Shui the ringed staff has come to symbolize the announcement of an impending danger. On his right hand is the Wish Fulfilling Jewel, which actually is a pearl. The Wish Fulfilling Jewel symbolizes the fact that Ksitigarbha has ability to help us fulfill our wishes. The Wish Fulfilling Jewel becomes a Fireball to help subdue negative energies such arguments or fighting. So it is not surprising that in some temple, you’ll see Ksitigarbha holding a round ball signifying the Wish Fulfilling Jewel, while in other he holds the Fireball. These two are actually one and the same. In Feng Shui, the Ksitigarbha fireball signifies the taming of arguments and fighting.

From my personal collection. A rare Red Amber Ksitigarbha.

From my personal collection. A rare Red Amber Ksitigarbha.

Having an image of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva at home or as a pendant, will help people who are going through some hardships, Ksitgarbha will help make things better. Furthermore, having his image at home or as a pendant will also help people deal with the compulsion or addiction. Addiction and compulsion are a form of hell and suffering, thus devotion to Ksitigarbha will help. People who are going through a difficult time will get some relief if they have the image of Ksitigarbha.

If wearing it as a pendant, I prefer the image with the five leave crown.  This is a rare red jasper Ksitigarbha pendant from my personal collection.

If wearing it as a pendant, I prefer the image with the five leave crown.
This is a rare red jasper Ksitigarbha pendant from my personal collection.

If you are suffering from a fixed karma, meaning karma from your past life and as indicated on your Paht Chee or Bazi, having Ksitigarbha’s image and reciting his mantra will help eradicate this negative past karma.

The mantra for this is OM PRA MANI DANI SOHA.

The other mantra for Ksitigarbha Buddha is OM AH KSITIGARBHA THALENG HUM.

His mantra in Chinese is NAMO DIZANG WANG P’USA.

If you wish to get an image of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, I find that an image of Ksitigarbha made of red jasper, or red amber is the best. The one made of jade only works for a select group of people.

Again, if using an image of Ksitigarbha at home, I prefer to use the one with the crown, unless, he is placed the ancestral altar.

Again, if using an image of Ksitigarbha at home, I prefer to use the one with the crown, unless, he is placed the ancestral altar.

Between the FOUR DHARMAKAYA RELIC MANTRAS, the images in the WISH FULFILLING AND BUDDHA’S BLESSING MANTRA PENDANT, GUAN YIN, KSITIGARBHA BODHISATTVA to name just some of the things that I’ve written there is no reason for us to suffer, as long as we keep our hearts pure and consciousness clean.

The Fascinating Story of Chung Kwei, The Ultimate Catcher and Vanquisher of Hugnry Ghosts, Demons and Evil Spirits

Published Hulyo 21, 2012 by jptan2012

In the past few posts, I talked about ‘THE DREADED HUNGRY GHOST MONTH’, and ‘THE EFFECTS OF THE DREADED HUNGRY GHOST MONTH’, of course; I also posted about ‘THE RITUALS TO APPEASE AND PROTECT ONESELF FROM HUNGRY GHOSTS’, and the ‘PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE DURING THE HUNGRY GHOST MONTH’.

But if there’s one thing that can totally ensure your safety and protect you from the harms of the hungry ghosts and any ghosts especially during the hungry ghost month, that would be Chung Kwei (also spelled as Chong Kwei, Chung Kui, Chong Kui, Zhong Kwei, Zhong Kui, Zhung Kwei, and Zhung Kui).

Chung Kwei is the ultimate catcher and vanquisher of not only hungry ghosts but also of evil spirits and demons!

But who is Chung Kwei?

Chung Kwei (in Foo Kien) or Zhong Kui (as pronounced in Mandarin) 鍾馗 is a historical figure but unfortunately is largely considered as a mythological figure by westerners because of the lack of historical data about him.

Chung Kwei was born during the Tang Dynasty at Zhongnan Mountain in Shensi Province. According to legend, Chung Kwei is actually the fourth son, however, all of his older brother died at a very young age. Because of the old age of Chung Kwei’s mother and the number of times she has given birth, she didn’t conceive for a very long time. Knowing that the absence of a son has caused great sadness to her husband, she encouraged him to get a concubine, something that is totally acceptable during that time. However, because he loves his wife so much, getting a concubine was out of the question for him.

It is said that out of desperation, he went to consult a famous powerful sorcerer that is rumored to be a demon. His wife was against his decision but he persisted and won over his wife’s protest.

Soon after visiting the sorcerer, his wife conceived again, but at about the same time they notice that a big black scary mountain panther was visiting them. They knew that this is a sign from the devil. Because of this Chung Kwei’s mom asked the help of a brother to go and visit a Kuan Yin temple to pray for them. The brother traveled for a month to visit this temple, and on his way back, he brought with him an image of Kuan Yin. Her brother gave this to her and told her that the Buddhist monk in the Kuan Yin temple did a divination and told her that she’s conceiving a child that is part demon. The only way to save the baby is if she and her husband will earnestly ask for Kuan Yin’s help and make sure that they dedicate the baby’s life to public service, which at that time is really servicing the emperor.

The husband realizing his folly earnestly prayed to Kuan Yin, and they would offer incense, recite mantras and sutras, write sutras for Kuan Yin every single day until the time she went into labor.

While giving birth to Chung Kwei, she went into trance and saw Kuan Yin riding on a Piyao, vanquishing the big black scary mountain panther. She knew then that her baby is going to be saved.

Chung Kwei was born as an ugly boy. It is said that he has a face of a black panther. However, no matter how ugly he is, he is a very nice and kindhearted boy. The only thing that he seem to have gotten from the big black scary mountain panther is the color of the skin, the looks, his size (because he is also a big boy) and the bravery, but other than that he seems to be a boy with a very unusual kindness.

Chung Kwei or Zhong Kui is also a very intelligent boy. His father hired the best tutor for him, but both his parents always ensure that he has a devotion to both Buddhism and Taoism and they instilled in him the importance of being in service to the public/emperor.

As a man, he has integrity, talented and profoundly learned. There was just one problem; the people who don’t know him ridicule him because of his looks.

Because of his intelligence and because he is a learned person, he was able to pass the exam to be of service to his emperor. This was in the time of Emperor Kao Tzu. However, because of his looks the judgmental and corrupt officials, in particular a treacherous minister name Lu Qi, refuse him entry to the imperial court.

Out of desperation to be of service to the public and to the emperor, Chung Kwei decided to commit suicide at the imperial entrance, not because he was depressed but because he believes that if he cannot be of service to the sovereign as a human, he’ll be of service to the emperor/sovereign in spirit. He committed suicide because he wants to fulfill his mortal wish to be of service to any reigning sovereign, which is equal to serving the public.

However, since he was a mere mortal at that time and has not achieved special skills in Taoism his spirit was captured by a Taoist priest so that he can be put to rest by sending the spirit to heaven through various prayers. That’s the last time they have heard of Chung Kwei.

If you have read my post entitled – GETTING TO KNOW ‘THE GREAT SAGE, EQUAL OF HEAVEN’, THE MONKEY GOD SUN WUKONG – you may remember the story of the Buddhist Monk Xuan Zang who went to get for the emperor some sutras and Buddhist texts in India for China. It is because of that journey or expedition that led to Sun Wukong’s Buddhahood. The emperor who tasked Xuan Zong to get the religious texts in India is Emperor Ming Huang (AD 712 – 742).

Anyway, Emperor Ming Huang during his reign, which was years after the suicide of Chung Kwei, succumbed to an illness that he has to be confined in his room. Even after consulting top doctors, he remained to be ill, worst, he soon started to get delusional and would always complain that he is unable get sleep in the evening because of unwanted supernatural visitors, which according to historical texts were described by Emperor Ming Huang as little devils. Thing soon got worse because they would hear his voice shouting out of fear and anger, and they thought that he was getting mad.

His top ministers then decided that they should see Emperor Ming Huang themselves so that they can decide whether they should appoint an interim ruler while Emperor Ming Huang’s son is not yet of age. This proved to be a fortunate matter for Emperor Ming Huang because his top ministers also saw the ‘little devils’ and they now know that he is not mad and is actually telling the truth.

They all decided to call some Taoist priest and Buddhist monks to exorcise the ‘little devils’. However, for quite sometime nothing worked. Out of desperation, one of the top minister called all palace guards and staff to offer the best vegetarian food and fruits to the Jade Emperor and Kuan Yin, for them to help exorcise the palace.

What follows is the most controversial, of what is already a controversial story, because it is said that this part came directly from Chung Kwei who conveyed it through a spirit medium.

The Jade Emperor having received the offerings and the ‘hu’ (a Taoist prayer tool), decided to intervene with the matter by sending another immortal to vanquish the little devils. However, Kuan Yin knowing of Chung Kwei’s desire to be of service to the sovereign, and also knowing about Chung Kwei’s fate (Chung Kwei at that time was in ‘heaven’ waiting samsara) decided to request the Jade Emperor to grant Chung Kwei special power so that Chung Kwei can be a deity and vanquish the little devil and be of service to the sovereign.

The Jade Emperor agreed to Kuan Yin’s suggestion, however, he clarified that while he can grant special deity power to Chung Kwei, the true test of Chung Kwei as a deity lies on his bravery, and good heart when he was still a mortal. Kuan Yin knowing of Chung Kwei’s character assured the Jade Emperor that Chung Kwei will succeed.

Meanwhile, Emperor Ming Huang is still being bothered by the ‘little devils’, and things has gotten worst because now the whole palace is affected by the ‘little devils’. The emperor is seriously considering relocating the palace, but for some reason the manifestations of the ‘little devils’ seemed to have simply and suddenly stop. Taking caution not to be optimistic about the sudden silence of the ‘little devils’, Emperor Ming Huang and the ministers decided to wait for a few days before they conclude that the haunting has stopped. Furthermore, Emperor Ming Huang was also miraculously cured of his illness.

When it was confirmed by everybody that the haunting has stopped, Emperor Ming Huang asked the imperial guardian deity (by praying to his image) to reveal to him as to who vanquished the ‘little devils’. That same evening, Emperor Ming Huang dreamt of a scary creature who look like a demon himself visited the palace, captured the little devils and vanquished them by devouring them.

Still in his dream, Emperor Ming Huang approached the vanquisher and asked for his name. Chung Kwei then introduced himself and told Emperor Ming Huang his story.

When he woke up, Emperor Ming Huang instructed his ministers for more information about Chung Kwei. He then was told of what happened to Chung Kwei, which is basically a confirmation of what was told to him by Chung Kwei through a dream.

Emperor Ming Huang then commissioned Tzu Wu Tao (also spelled as Tzu Wu Dao), a then well known and one of the most celebrated artists of his time, to paint Chung Kwei. Also through Emperor Ming Huang’s intervention and persistence, Chung Kwei was canonized by Taoists priest with the title – GREAT SPIRITUAL DEMON VANQUISHER!

Soon, Taoist priests would call on Chung Kwei to help them vanquish or exorcise a person or a place. They would also found out that a blessed image of Chung Kwei acts as an extension of Chung Kwei’s power.

So to this day, Chung Kwei remains to be the most powerful deity to protect us from any evil spirits, especially during hungry ghost month!

TO UNDERSTAND MORE ABOUT THE HUNGRY GHOST MONTH, HUNGRY GHOSTS, IT’S EFFECTS, RITUALS AND PROTECTION READ THE FOLLOWING HUNGRY GHOSTS SERIES:

YOU MAY WISH TO READ THE FOLLOWING ALSO:

OR YOU CAN CLICK ON THE CATEGORY – KUWENTO TUNGKOL SA HUNGRY GHOST MONTH.

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

 

Lu Dongbin: The Third Immortal Who Happens to be the De Facto Chief of the Eight Immortals

Published Abril 21, 2012 by jptan2012

One of the most famous immortal in the 8 Immortals is Lu Dongbin (also spelled as Lu Dongpin, Lu Tong Pin, Dongbin Lu), I believe to some extent he is even more famous than Chung Li-Chuan. In fact, there are more records about Lu Dongbin than Chung Li-Chuan, and some Taoist priest consider Lu Dongbin as the leader or chief of the Eight Immortals. However, if you study the story of the Eight Immortals there are records that states that Lu Dongbin is a student or disciple of Chung Li-Chuan, thus the more common belief is that Chung Li-Chuan is the chief of the 8 Immortals and that Lu Dongbin is the de facto leader of the group. In the official counting of the Eight Immortals he usually comes third, but the chronological line-up of their names is not in any way related to their capabilities and hierarchy.

In my post about the Eight Immortals, I mentioned that they are largely considered as legendary beings this is because it is unclear whether they truly lived in the past or not. However, that is not true about Lu Dongbin. Lu Dongbin is a confirmed historical figure.

Lu Dongbin’s real name is Lu Yan during the Tang Dynasty. Lu is his family name and Yan is his given name.  It is largely believed that when he was born, instead of a pungent smell of blood, the room was filled with a very sweet smelling fragrant aroma. Some records states that he has always been an intelligent student with so many academic achievements.

In his older age it is said that he learned the alchemy and Tao under the guidance of Chung Li-Chuan. Some Taoist scripturess states that Lu Dongbin became a very good exorcist of people who are possessed by bad spirits. He is also able to drive aways bad chi, bad luck cause by evil spirits.

It is because of his life as mortal that when he became an immortal he is largely associated with scholastic luck. More than being an immortal that bestows scholastic luck, he is also an immortal that we can call on when we need protection from unseen forces. His secondary power is his ability to heal illnesses.

His implements are the double edged sword that he uses to slay evil spirits and a flywhisk that he uses to cure illnesses.

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