Words of Wisdom by the Abbot President: A Step by Step Approach to Learning the Method of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva

Words of Wisdom by the Abbot President: A Step by Step Approach to Learning the Method of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva

Dharma Drum Mountain is a practice center for Buddhist where the spirit of the Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (Guanyin) is highly prominent. To learn the Guanyin method, one has to recollect, pray, learn, and model oneself after Guanyin.

Recollecting Guanyin:
This method is simple and easy – think of the Buddha or Guanyin Bodhisattva at all times. When I walked past the Seven Fruit Fig Trees on Dharma Drum Mountain’s campus last year, I heard the loud cries of Taiwan Blue Magpies; there was a nest of Blue Magpies and upon seeing perceived threat, the parents chirped loudly in an attempt to defend their territory and protect their young. Our constant recollection of the Buddha or Guanyin is similar to the way chicks call to their mother for protection; like the mother bird, Guanyin Bodhisattva, with his great compassionate vows, will always come to our assistance as long as we pray for deliverance.

Praying to Guanyin:
At a superficial level, we pray for our own benefits; at a deeper level, we pray for the well-being of all sentient beings. Becoming a Buddhist is akin to boarding a ship of compassion that takes us beyond the cycle of birth and death. However, there are many who are still in the sea of suffering, waiting to be delivered. We pray for Guanyin Bodhisattva to bestow compassion and wisdom to us so that we could, in turn, help others escape samsara or the sea of suffering.

Learning from Guanyin:
We need to utilize effective methods to deliver sentient beings from samsara; without proper methods, we would most likely drown in the sea of suffering together with those that we wish to save. One of the Four Great Vows states that “I vow to study limitless approaches to the Dharma”. From the perspective of self-interest, it may be better to choose one method and practice diligently, but in order to help all sentient beings, we must vow to learn all six paramitas in addition to all approaches to the Dharma. The opportunity to be a disciple of the Three Jewels is rare and should be greatly cherished; thus we should strive to practice the Bodhisattva Path in accordance to the principles, concepts, and methods of the Three Jewels. This is learning from Guanyin.

Modeling after Guanyin:
Guanyin Bodhisattva can manifest himself in infinite forms, and with his countless eyes and hands, is able to relieve sentient beings at all times and places. If we can always help others with equanimity, compassion, and wisdom, then we could be regarded as the embodiment of Guanyin; this is what is meant by modeling after Guanyin.

We are now in the second half of 2019. In addition to good wishes and speeches, as well as virtuous deeds in accordance to our 2019 theme of “A Good Wish for the World”, we could embark on the Bodhisattva path. Through the aforementioned stages of “Recollecting, Praying to, Learning from, and Modeling after Guanyin”, not only could we practice to benefit ourselves and others but we would be able to bring good fortunes to ourselves, family, community, as well as the world.

Texts: Venerable Guo Huei Dharma Drum Monthly
Translation: Shujen, Yeh (葉姝蓁)
Editing: John Wu (吳俊宏); Leefah Thong; DDM Editorial Team

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