Many people see a Buddha just like a physical being, but many have open wisdom eyes or have merit enough, they see the Buddha in different appearance: beautiful, magnificent majesty and bright, bright, bright, all Lights shining in all directions.
“Manjusri said to the Buddha, ‘World Honored One, throughout many eons, I have cultivated good roots, and my wisdom has been certified as being unobstructed.’” That’s why he’s number one, wisdom.
“‘When I hear what the Buddha says, I immediately accept it with faith. But Sound-Hearers of small attainment …’” Sound-Hearers, OK? You know what I mean: Quan Yin people. “Of small attainment” means on the still lower scale of spiritual level.
“‘But Sound-Hearers of small attainment, and gods, and dragons, and the rest of the Eightfold Division, and beings in the future, who hear the Thus Come One’s true and sincere words will certainly harbor doubts.’” Meaning the disciples of the Buddha, the Sound-Hearers, the ones already been initiated in the (inner Heavenly) Sound and Light method but they are still too low level. They probably still doubt what the Buddha said, that how come the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, meaning the Earth Store Bodhisattva, can, has been able, or will be able to save so, so, so, so many countless beings that even the Buddha’s wisdom, the Buddha Eye cannot measure, cannot count.
So some low level beings and other gods, some small devas and gods, they did not necessarily have enough wisdom to understand this, so god is not completely un-ignorant, understand me? (Yes.) That’s why many stories I told you before, some gods don’t even know if the Buddha-to-be at that time was sincere or not. He had to come down and test Him with fire, with swords, and with all kinds of suffering.
“‘Even if they receive the teaching, Your teaching –’” meaning the Buddha’s teaching “‘– respectfully, they will still be unable to avoid slandering it.’” Oh, it happens. It sounds familiar to me.
“‘My own wish is that the World Honored One will proclaim for everyone what practices that Earth Store Bodhisattva did and what vows He made while on the level of planting causes that now enable Him to succeed in doing such inconceivable deeds.’ The Buddha said to Manjusri, ‘By way of analogy, suppose that each blade of grass, tree, forest, rice plant, hemp stalk, bamboo, reed, mountain, rock and mote of dust in the Three Thousand Great Thousand World System was a Ganges River.’” Supposed to be so many, so many Ganges Rivers.
“‘Then suppose that each grain of sand in each of those Ganges Rivers was a world and that each mote of dust in each of those worlds was an eon,’” you know, an era. “‘Then suppose each mote of dust accumulated in each of those eons was itself an eon. The time elapsed since Earth Store Bodhisattva was certified to the position of the Tenth Ground is a thousand times longer than that in the above analogy.’” Meaning? Meaning? (Infinite.) Infinite, yeah, in-fi-nite. Yeah, some say infinite, some say infinite, I don’t know who’s wrong.
“The Tenth Ground.” I guess one of the positions of the Bodhisattva, high order. So that He’d be able to do this work. It’s not every Bodhisattva can do this work. You have to be certified by Heavenly Council, by Buddha’s Council, by the merit that He has done that He earned this – Tenth Ground. Probably like Fifth Level, Sixth Level. Probably they will explain what Tenth Ground is here. No, there’s none. Sometimes the translation is not clear. Weird, “Tenth Ground.” Tenth Ground, that could be like the Ten Merits or Tenth Level. Never mind, just accept it as a very high level, powerful. Otherwise, He couldn’t do what He has done, is doing and will be doing.
“So, even longer was the time that He dwelled on the levels of Sound-Hearer and Pratyekabuddha.” Sound-Hearers. Even He practiced as Sound-Hearer, Quan Yin Method, listening to the (inner Heavenly) Sound. And He has also been Pratyekabuddha, meaning the Buddha that doesn’t teach; enlightened Himself, but he doesn’t teach. So it’s a long, long time, longer than that. So He has been Sound-Hearer for infinite time already and He has been a lone Buddha for a long, long, infinite time already.
“‘Manjusri, the awesome spiritual strength and vows of this Bodhisattva are inconceivable. If good men or women in the future hear this Bodhisattva’s name, praise Him, behold and bow to Him, call His name, make offerings to Him, or if they draw, carve, cast, sculpt or make lacquered images of Him, such people will be reborn in the Heaven of the Thirty-Three 100 times and will never fall into the evil paths. Manjusri, indescribably many eons ago, during the time of a Buddha named Lion Sprint Complete in the Ten Thousand Practices Thus Come One.’” It’s the title of that Buddha a long time ago.
“Earth Store Bodhisattva Mahasattva was the son of a great elder.”
Are you interested still, or are you sleeping, or …? You’re bored? (No!) It’s a good story? (Yes!) (Yes, it’s very good.) Eons, eons, eons, infinite time. You OK, yeah? (Yes, Master.) Not tired, your intellect or anything? (No.)
Even if you don’t believe all this, it’s OK to listen to the story, which awakens your interest in spiritual practice. I mean, awaken not only: inspires you, reminds you, encourages you, pushing you up. Every good story is never too many. Because in this world, we hardly hear many good stories, many spiritually encouraging true stories, or not true stories. Even if the Buddha was to make up this story, it’s an incredible author. He should be bestseller of our time, of all time, right? (Yes.) Incredible that He told all these stories. I mean it’s in Heaven, but somebody went down to Earth and told Ananda, and then Ananda recorded it for us. It’s incredible, the story, that we should hear. It’s only 2,000-something, 3,000 years ago. It’s not like a long time ago. It’s not long.
Imagine when we were born, and now we are 60 already, so, couple of tens times that, and then it’s 1,000 years. And three times like that is 3,000 years; it’s not long. It’s a true story. No one can imagine such a story, (Yes.) with all the names and all this.
“The Earth Store Bodhisattva was the son of a great elder. That elder’s son, upon observing the Buddha’s hallmarks and the fine features and how the thousand blessings adorned him, asked that Buddha what practices and vows led to his gaining such an appearance.”
It must be the inside manifestation, viewed with the wisdom eye, not the outside, with lipstick and high heels and all that, it’s not. It’s the inside. How come He has such a magnificent, majestic feature, that Buddha at that time?
“So, the Lion Sprint Complete in the Ten Thousand Practices Thus Come One –” it’s a very long title. And you complain that the Supreme Master Ching Hai is long, long title, this is longer!
“He said to the elder’s son, ‘If you wish to have a body like this, you must first spend a long time liberating beings who are undergoing suffering.’”
It’s an inside manifestation, not the outside. Many people see a Buddha just like a physical being, but many have open wisdom eyes or have merit enough, they see the Buddha in different appearance: beautiful, magnificent majesty and bright, bright, bright, all Lights shining in all directions. So this Eelder’s son was also pure enough to have seen this Buddha Lion Sprint – I just cite that because it’s a long name – Lion Sprint, he’s seen Him in this kind of spiritual body. So he thought, “Why? Why so beautiful like that? What did You do?” So He said, “You have to save all beings who are undergoing suffering. Many, many, and then you will have such a body like this.”
“‘Manjusri,’” this is Shakyamuni Buddha talking now. “‘Manjusri, that comment caused the elder’s son to make a vow.’ So he vowed: ‘From now until the end of future time,’” which is no end, right? “‘Throughout uncountable eons, I will use expansive expedient devices to help beings in the Six Paths who are suffering for their offenses. Only when they have all been liberated will I myself become a Buddha.’” Wow! Therefore, He’s still always a Bodhisattva. I mean second level to Buddha. “From the time He made that great vow in the presence of that Buddha until now, hundreds of thousands of nayutas of inexpressibly many eons have passed, and still He’s a Bodhisattva.” Ah, I’m right! Yeah, I’m right.
“Another time, inconceivable asamkhyeya eons ago –” means numerous, uncountable – “there was a Buddha named Enlightenment Flower Samadhi Self-Mastery King Thus Come One.” It’s also very long! Probably I have to collect some names to make myself seem more important. “Master Ching Hai” is too short! Even “Supreme Master Ching Hai” is too short. Just one more, I have to collect some, have to think of some names, some titles.
That Buddha’s lifespan was 400 million asamkhyeya eons. So it’s not short-lived like Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha. That was Ananda’s fault. Because the Buddha intended to live longer, because He had attained this much longer lifespan power. He attained something, then He can live many eons, or at least many thousands of years more. But He asked Ananda three times. He didn’t say anything. And then after that, the maya came and asked the Buddha, “OK, nobody said anything. Seems like nobody wants You to stay here, so You go to Nirvana.” So the Buddha said, “OK, in three months. In three months I will.”
But it’s not Ananda’s fault, actually. It’s just probably the collective karma of the Earth at that time that would make Ananda so dumb and not speak like that. But (it’s) the Buddha’s fault also. Why ask Ananda? Go and ask Manjusri or Mahakasyapa. These are more neutral monks. Ananda has been too long next to the Buddha all the time and he relies on Him all the time, like a son to a father. He doesn’t grow so fast, too spoiled. Everybody respects him, asks him this, asks him that, “Can I? May I go to see the Buddha?” And Ananda would say, “Yes,” or, “No.” That’s powerful. And then everything he asked the Buddha, the Buddha always told him. So he was not used to being asked. It’s Ananda who asked all the time. So, suddenly, the Buddha asked him a question; he was not trained to answer. The Buddha should know. If the Buddha asked me, if I was there at that time, I should say, “Don’t ask him, Master. Ask me, or ask Sariputra, ask Manjusri, ask Mahakasyapa or Maudgalyayana.”
“‘During His Dharma Image Age,’” meaning the Dharma flourishing time of His lifetime, “‘there lived a Brahman woman, endowed with ample blessings from previous lifetimes, who was respected by everyone. Whether she was walking, standing, sitting, or lying down, gods, all the small gods, gods surrounded and protected her, meaning Heavenly beings, surrounded and protected her. Her mother however, embraced a deviant faith and often disrespected the Triple Jewels, meaning the Buddha, the Sangha and the Teaching. She, the mother, disrespected, looked down upon the Buddha, the Sangha, and the Teaching.’”
This is the Buddha’s continued talking: “‘Her worthy daughter made use of many expedients in trying to convince her mother to hold right views.’” Sounds familiar to some of you, no? “‘But her mother never totally believed. Before long, the mother’s life ended, and her consciousness fell into the Uninterrupted Hell,’” meaning you never have a break from there, never have a break. Means whatever punishment you take is continued day and night, every second of the life you have there. Never have a break. Some hells have a break. This hell doesn’t.
You remember the story I told you? A joke. No. A person did many bad things and went down to hell. And the king of hell said, “OK, you are bad, but not too bad. So you may have a choice. You can go around checking which hell you want to reside in.” So he went everywhere, he saw somebody was cut in half there, somebody was hanged there, somebody burned in fire, somebody put in boiling oil, and he said, “No, this is too terrible! I cannot bear it, I cannot do it, it’s too much suffering!” So he went to another hell and he saw that somebody was sitting on a septic tank pool, but drinking tea and eating cakes. So he thought, “Oh, that’s not bad, I can bear it. The stink is terrible, but it’s OK. It’s not so much suffering like the fire or the boiling oil or the sawing body into different spare parts.” So he said, “I go here.” Said and done. The king said, “OK, up to you.” And then, soon, the hell gate was locked, and the guy went into the septic tank pool. And he was about to order some tea, and then the devil warden, the guardian devil of that place said, “OK, tea break is over! Everybody turn back upside-down!”
You like it, huh? Is it so funny? Is it that funny? Wait until you get there! Then you won’t laugh very much, especially after the break is over. I’m telling you, laugh now but be careful, all right! To laugh but to remember, OK? (Yes.)