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Between Master and Disciples / Buddhist Stories

Buddhist Stories: “The Hundred-Headed Fish,” “The Peaceful Heaven Being’s Deeds,” and “The Trayastrimsa Heaven Gatherings,” Part 7 of 8, Aug 09, 2015

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So anyone who dies who hasn’t done good deeds or done bad deeds, then this is the time of judgment. If you help them, the living beings help them, pray for them or reciting sutra, Buddha’s sutra, do any good things and tell them good stuff, from the living Master as well, then it’s good, better for them. Then their sin will be minimized and they might be liberated accordingly.

So this kind of Uninterrupted Hell, meaning never have a break like that. “So, when that happened, the Brahman woman,” the virtuous Brahman woman, “knowing that her mother had not believed in cause and effect while alive, feared that her bad karma would certainly pull her into the evil paths. For that reason, she sold the family house and acquired many kinds of incense, flowers and other gifts. With those, she performed a great offering in that Buddha’s stupas and monasteries. She saw an especially fine image of the Thus Come One Enlightenment-Flower Samadhi Self-Mastery King in one of the monasteries.” Just an image, just a statue. It just says, “especially fine image” so it might not be a statue. Let’s read on.

“As the Brahman woman beheld the honored countenance, she became doubly respectful while thinking to herself.” Probably in a vision, image, vision.

“‘Buddhas,’” she thought to herself, “‘Buddhas are called Greatly Enlightened Ones who have gained All-Wisdom. If this Buddha were in the world, I could ask Him where my mother went after she died. He would certainly know.’” Meaning, then, the Buddha was already in Nirvana.

“The Brahman woman then wept for a long, long time as she gazed lovingly upon the Thus Come One.” So probably it was an image, it was a statue. Why don’t they just say statue, (it’s) easier for me. What do I know? I wasn’t there. So she gazed lovingly onto the image of that Buddha, thinking, “If He were still in this world, I would be able to ask Him where my mother went.” And she knew the Buddha was not there anymore, so she wept, she wept of feeling frustrated and hopeless. That’s why she cried and cried.

“And then suddenly, she heard a voice from the space saying, ‘Oh, weeping, worthy woman, do not be so sorrowful. I shall now show you where your mother has gone.’ Probably she was so sincere, so the past Buddha talked to her. Or maybe one of the guardian gods. When we are sincere, we are more connected to protective councils or whoever is responsible for this field that you are praying to.

“The Brahman woman placed her palms together as she addressed space, the empty space, and said, ‘Who is it the one with spiritual virtue, comforting me in my grief? From the day I lost my mother onward, I have held her in memory day and night, but there is nowhere I can go to ask about the realm of her rebirth.’ So the voice in the space spoke to the woman again, ‘I am the one you are beholding and worshipping.’” So that is the Buddha, the Buddha statue.

“‘The former Enlightenment-Flower Samadhi Self-Mastery King Thus Come One. Because I have seen your regard for your mother is double that of ordinary beings, so I have come to show you where she is.’ The Brahman woman suddenly lunged toward the voice she was hearing, and then fell, injuring herself severely.” She was trying so quickly to find out where the voice (was), so she fell down.

“Those around her supported and attended upon her, and after a long time, she was revived. Then, she addressed space, saying, ‘I hope the Buddha will be compassionate and quickly tell me into what realm my mother has been reborn. I am now near my death myself.’ Enlightenment-Flower Samadhi Self-Mastery King Thus Come One of the past told the worthy woman.”

The Buddha Shakyamuni has even ten titles, more than that. But sometimes, most people just address Him as “Thus Come One,” or “World Honored One,” or “Buddha,” or “Arhant.” Even they address Him also, one of His titles is Arhant.

“So, the past Buddha appeared through the voice, told the worthy woman, ‘After you make your offerings, return home quickly. Sit upright and concentrate on my name. You will soon know where your mother has been reborn.’ So the Brahman woman bowed to the Buddha,” the space, there’s no one there, just a voice.

“She bowed to the Buddha with that voice and then returned home. The memory of her mother sustained her as she sat upright, recollecting Enlightenment-Flower Samadhi Self-Mastery King Thus Come One. After doing so for a day and a night, she suddenly saw herself beside a sea whose waters seethed and bubbled.” It’s always the sea, huh?

Last time, the Maudgalyayana also took his old disciple to the sea. It seems like hell is next to the sea. And we could not even buy an ashram near the sea, so that you can take a shower sometimes. Up to now not, because mostly, the sea is overcrowded, next to the beach, always crowded with people (and) apartments, always. But for us, it’s very difficult to find.

“She saw herself on the sea that seethed and bubbled. Many evil beasts with iron bodies flew swiftly back and forth above the sea. She saw hundreds of thousands of men and women bobbing up and down in the sea, being fought over, seized, and eaten by the evil beasts. She saw yakshas with different shapes.” Some of the ghosts or evil spirits. “Some had many hands, some many eyes, some many legs, some many heads. With their sharp fangs, they drove the offenders on towards the evil beasts.” You know, pushing them there, for them to eat.

“All the yakshas themselves seized the offenders and twisted their heads and feet together into shapes so horrible that no one would dare even look at them for long. During that time, the Brahman woman was naturally without fear due to the power of recollecting the Buddha’s name. A Ghost King named Poisonless bowed his head in greeting and said to the worthy woman, ‘Welcome, oh Bodhisattva. What conditions bring you here?’ The Brahman woman asked the Ghost King, ‘What is this place?’ Poisonless King replied, ‘We are on the western side of the Great Iron Ring Mountain, and this is the first of the seas that encircle it.’ The worthy woman said, ‘I have heard that the hells are within the Iron Ring. Is that actually so?’ Poisonless King answered, ‘Yes, the hells are here.’ The worthy woman asked, ‘How have I now come to the hells? Why am I here?’ So the Poisonless,” means the king of one of these hells “– answered.” So he’s kind. He called her Bodhisattva and why did she come here and all; he was very kind. So the king of some of the ghosts and all that, as I told you before, must not mean that they are bad. They just have to govern that part of the universe. So that (they) make sure the ghosts and the devils don’t harm just any beings, just the bad ones, but not touch the good ones. They have to have law and order as well.

“So, the woman asked, ‘How come I am here in hells?’ So the Poisonless answered, ‘If it wasn’t awesome spiritual strength that brought you here, then it was the power of bad karma. Those are the only two ways anyone can come here.’ The worthy woman asked, ‘Why is this water seething and bubbling? And why are there so many offenders and evil beasts?’ Poisonless replied, ‘These are beings of Jambudvipa who did evil deeds.’” Almost like Samsara, means from the Earth, come down.

“‘They did evil deeds. They have just died and passed through 49 days without any surviving relatives doing any meritorious deeds on their behalf to rescue them from their distress.’”

For 49 days and nights, if you have relatives (who) died, you should meditate, pray for them, reciting good sutras, or Master’s teachings, or put the tapes on for them. Don’t cry. Don’t make too much festival, whatever kind. Don’t (be) busy with all that. Have to make offerings to the Buddhas, or recite the sutra for them, and pray for them. Understand? (Yes.) Because the 49 days, that’s the time…

If they’re good people, or people with a Master, then they go to Heaven immediately already.

But the 49-day period is allowed, so anyone who dies who hasn’t done good deeds or done bad deeds, then this is the time of judgment. If you help them, the living beings help them, pray for them or reciting sutra, Buddha’s sutra, do any good things and tell them good stuff, from the living Master as well, then it’s good, better for them. Then their sin will be minimized and they might be liberated accordingly.

Don’t sit there and cry and cling to the body. That’s useless for them, helpless, even harmful. Especially if you kill animals to feed or offering to them, then it’s worse, worse, worse. You make their sin worse, their karma worse. So even if they were about to be liberated from suffering, they would stay there longer, or they would have more suffering because you kill animals to make offering to them. Understand? (Yes.) Every time you do that, their karma gets worse, they get more punishment in hell.

And even if somebody is in Heaven, and if you kill animals as offering to them or on their behalf, their Heaven status is lower. And then maybe keep (going) lower and lower until maybe they cannot stay in Heaven anymore. Then they have to be reborn again and go somewhere accordingly.

So, besides that, “During their lives, they themselves didn’t plant any good causes. Now, their own bad karma calls forth these hells.” They attract the hells to them. They didn’t fall to hell; they attracted the hell to come to them even.

“They call forth these hells. Their first task is to cross this sea. Ten thousand yojanas east of this sea is another sea in which they will undergo twice as much suffering. East of that sea is yet another sea where the sufferings are doubled still again. What the combined evil causes of the three karmic vehicles evoke is called ‘the sea of karma.’” This is that place, the sea of karma. This is the place where the woman is now.

“The worthy woman asked the Ghost King Poisonless, ‘Where are the hells?’ Poisonless answered, ‘Within the three seas are hundreds of thousands of great hells, each one different. Eighteen of those are known as the great hells. Five hundred subsequent ones inflict limitless cruel sufferings. Following those are hundreds of thousands that inflict limitless further sufferings.’ The worthy woman again questioned the great Ghost King, ‘My mother died recently and I do not know where she has gone.’ The Ghost King asked the worthy woman, ‘When the Bodhisattva’s mother was alive, what habits did she have?’” Even the Ghost King couldn’t tell right away who is where, you see? They have to check according to the information.

“The worthy woman replied, ‘My mother held deviant views and ridiculed and slandered the Triple Jewels,’” means the Buddha, Sangha and Dharma. “‘Even if she occasionally believed, she would soon become disrespectful again. She died recently, and I still do not know where she was reborn.’ Poisonless asked, ‘What was the Bodhisattva’s mother’s name and clan?’” Still have ID, huh? In hell, we need ID to find somebody. It’s too much, too countless beings. I guess even the king doesn’t have the book of the names.

“So the worthy woman replied, ‘My parents were both Brahmans. My father’s name was Shila Sudarshana, my mother’s name was Yue Di Li.’” Sounds like Chinese to me.

“Poisonless placed his palms together and implored the worthy woman, ‘Please, Worthy One …’” He’s so respectful, huh? He knew she was good. He even called her Bodhisattva. And he put his palms together and said, “‘Worthy One, please return home. There is no need for you to grieve further. The offender Yue Di Li was born in the Heavens three days ago. It is said that she received the benefit of offerings made and blessings cultivated by her filial child who practiced giving to Enlightenment-Flower Samadhi Self-Mastery King Thus Come One at His stupas and monasteries.’” The Buddha passed away long ago already, but she made offering only to the statues and the monastery, probably to the monks who believed in Him.

‘Not only was the Bodhisattva’s mother released from the hells, all the other offenders who were destined for the Uninterrupted Hell received bliss and were reborn together with her in Heaven.’ Having finished speaking, the Ghost King put his palms together and withdrew,” gone.

“The Brahman woman returned swiftly as if from a dream, understood what had happened and then made a profound and far-reaching vow before the stupas and images of Enlightenment-Flower Samadhi Self-Mastery King Thus Come One, saying, ‘I vow that until the end of future eons, I will respond to beings suffering for their offenses by using many expedient devices to bring about their liberation.’ The Buddha told Manjusri, ‘The Ghost King Poisonless is the present Bodhisattva Foremost Wealth.’” In His assembly. “‘The Brahman woman is now Earth Store Bodhisattva.’”

Even the ghost king can become Bodhisattva Foremost Wealth. The Brahman woman is now Earth Store Bodhisattva. These are all translated names from Sanskrit. You know, the meaning is like that. So they just translated the meaning.

It was a good story; (Yes.) thanks for listening. Incredible story. I like very much. My first Bodhisattva was Quan Yin Bodhisattva, from my childhood then. And my second one, when I was in the West, in Germany, was Earth Store Bodhisattva. I worshipped Them. And also, I have other pictures of other Buddhas. You can’t always get whatever you want, the Buddha, in the West. But I liked Earth Store Bodhisattva very much. I loved Him for the vow He made and for the sacrifice He made, for what He is doing, and has been doing and is doing, and will be doing for beings, so I worshipped Him in my house. And Quan Yin Bodhisattva, of course, is always there. And then I cannot get Shakyamuni Buddha, so I just worship Earth Store Bodhisattva. And then I have, also, images of other Buddhas behind, like a picture.

And my husband was good; he’d bring flowers to Them, my ex-husband. He liked Buddhism. But he didn’t know much, he just liked. It seemed more peaceful to him, non-violent, no competitiveness. That’s taught in Buddhism, and he liked it.

I let you go eating, and if something’s good, we’ll come back. (Yes.) I will continue if you want to, later. (Yes.) (Yes, Master.) Yeah, it’s more comfortable for me to read straight from English, instead of translation and explaining at the same time. It’s kind of, a little bit more stressful, manageable but more stressful. OK, see you later. (Thank You, Master.)

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