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Showing Sentient Beings Ways Out of Suffering

On Sunday, November 8, 2009, Venerable Master Ren Jun gave a talk at CMC on “Showing Sentient Beings Ways Out of Suffering”. The following is a translation of verses presented by Venerable Master:

Guan Yin Bodhisattva attained buddhahood a long time ago. His name as a buddha was Zheng Fa Ming. After buddhahood, on numberless occasions, he manifested numerous times and carried out actions of a great bodhisattva. He was notable for saving those who suffer and instilling a feeling of fearlessness within them.

He has boundless and endless wisdom and compassion. His wisdom is like the bright shining of the rising sun in the morning and his compassion exceeds that of a loving mother waiting for her child. He never discriminates nor abandons anyone and his protection is all inclusive.

Ordinary people only know how to supplicate Guan Yin. They ask for money, a son, or miracles. If they don't get what they seek, they grow despondent, lose their faith, and fall into depression and worry.

Someone with true faith in Guan Yin would not seek anything from him; rather they learn from him. After studying Guan Yin's example for a long time, you practice great virtue and offer your whole body and mind (to help sentient beings).

Today we come together for the Guan Yin Dharma Assembly. I will not accept a red envelope from any of you; I only make the wish that you burn into your minds (make the vow) to face the challenge and lead sentient beings out of suffering.

According to Master Ren Jun, true bodhisattvas understand the suffering of sentient beings and make great vows to deliver them. They mingle among ordinary sentient beings, and genuinely care for and share their wisdom with us, so that we may also, one day, become liberated. Bodhisattvas are able to deliver all sentient beings because they have shattered the sense of self.

As a result, great compassion arises, unlimited by time and space. Guan Yin bodhisattva’s compassion is compared to a mother, but unlike an ordinary mother, the bodhisattva sees all beings as her children and treats every being equally.

Bodhisattva action is different from that of ordinary sentient beings in that it is free from attachment or craving for self-centered love. The bodhisattva’s goal is to deliver all sentient beings-- they choose to remain in the form of bodhisattvas rather than attain Buddhahood.

There are two special characteristics of great bodhisattvas—rescuing sentient beings and making offerings. There are three kinds of offerings- offering the dharma, offering possessions, and offering fearlessness. Offering the dharma means teaching about impermanence.

When we truly understand the meaning of impermanence, we are able to open our hearts and offer our possessions. In Chinese, Guan Yin Bodhisattva is also known as “Offering Fearlessness.” Offering fearlessness means teaching us how to face challenges without fear.

Venerable Master encouraged the audience to learn from Guan Yin Bodhisattva-- to make vows, cultivate compassionate minds, and do virtuous deeds that benefit others. Great virtuous deeds mean to be without greed, hatred, and ignorance, to understand impermanence, and be able to offer ourselves to all beings.

(Report by Chang Jie)

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