Special Topics

Upholding the Buddha's name: "Namo Guan Shi Yin Pusa"

When Buddhists experience fear, they always chant scriptures or the Buddha's name. Even in the face of critical situations, they subconsciously recite the sacred name of Guanyin Bodhisattva, like a drowning person who automatically reaches for a rescue boat.
Reciting the sacred name of Guanyin Bodhisattva is the easiest and most convenient method of all Guanyin Bodhisattva's practice methods. Even if one doesn't have any understanding of the Buddhist doctrine, one can still attain many benefits just by chanting Guanyin's name. However, Guanyin Bodhisattva's practice methods are far beyond that. In the book "Master Sheng Yen on Guanyin Bodhisattva's Methods", seven different Guanyin practice methods are enumerated*, including reciting the Buddha's names, chanting dharanis, reciting and upholding Buddhist scriptures, and also mindfully observing body and mind. Thus, one can see that there are a variety of Guanyin Bodhisattva practice methods.
*The Seven Guanyin Bodhisattva practice methods include: "Perfect Penetration Through the Ear" from the Shurangama Sutra; "Perception of emptiness of the five skandhas" from the Heart sutra; "upholding the Buddha's name" in the Lotus Sutra's Universal Door chapter; practice methods of the Six-Character Great Bright Mantra; the White-robed Guanyin Bodhisattva Mantra; Life-Extending Ten-Verse Guanyin Sutra; and the practice methods of the Great Compassion Mantra in the Great Compassion Dharani Sutra.

These various methods demonstrate that Guanyin Bodhisattva employs all kinds of expedient means, so that countless sentient beings with varying spiritual capacities can be delivered from suffering through methods most appropriate to the level of their understanding of the Dharma. Venerable Master Sheng Yen thus once remarked, even just reciting "Namo Guan Shi Yin Pusa (homage to Guanyin Bodhisattva)" is also a supreme Dharma door. What matters most are persistence and sincere devotion in mind.

​Upholding the Buddha's name: "Namo Guan Shi Yin Pusa"

Chanting the Buddha's name is the easiest way to practice Guanyin Bodhisattva's methods. As the "Universal Door chapter" of the Lotus Sutra points out, repeated and respectful recitation of the name of Guanyin Bodhisattva not only can help one keep away the three poisons of craving, anger and ignorance, but also brings immeasurable merits and blessings. Even those who wish to have a son blessed with merits, virtue and wisdom, or a daughter of good looks and demeanor, will have their wishes fulfilled just by asking Guanyin Bodhisattva for blessings and reciting the sacred name of Guanyin Bodhisattva.
It is with this majestic power of Guanyin Bodhisattva that reciting the sacred name of Guanyin Bodhisattva becomes the easiest and most expedient means among Guanyin Bodhisattva's practice methods. Whenever Buddhists face critical situations, they will chant the sacred name of Guanyin Bodhisattva, which has the function of "building faith, warding off disasters and avoiding calamities."
How can we benefit from chanting the Buddha's name? It is recommended to take count of the recitations; that is, to recite the Buddha's name at a fixed time and in a fixed quantity, as our regular practice. Whether we recite "Namo Guan Shi Yin Pusa" or simply "Guan Yin Pu Sa (Guanyin Bodhisattva)"--be it chanting silently or out loud-- as long as we have the Buddha's name engraved in our mind through recitations, we can calm down and settle the mind, as if Guanyin Bodhisattva was always present to give us blessings.

Extended Reading:

Upholding the Buddha's name: "Namo Guan Shi Yin Pusa"

Recitation of Dharanis and Mantras: Six-syllable Mantra, White-robed Guanyin Mantra, Ten-Phrase Avalokitesvara Sutra for Prolonging Life, Great Compassion Dharani, and Dharani of Eleven-Faced Avalokitesvara

Repentance: Great Compassion Repentance and performing Guanyin repentance method

Reading Scriptures: Universal Gate Chapter and Heart Sutra

Perceiving the five aggregates (skandhas) as empty in nature and the method of perfect penetration through the ear faculty

Resource: Issue 340 of Life Magazine, Dharma Drum Publishing Corporation
Photos: Issue 340 of Life Magazine, Dharma Drum Publishing Corporation
Translation: DDM translation team 
Editing: YKL, Keith Brown