Q2: From which kinds of suffering does Bodhisattva Guanyin liberate us?A: The Lotus Sutra's Universal Gate Chapter on Bodhisattva Guanyin outlines seven different kinds of disasters through which the bodhisattva practices "liberating the suffering of sentient beings by observing their sounds." The seven different kinds of disasters are those caused by fire, water, wind, weapons, evil ghosts, captivity, and traveling on a dangerous path. These are the well-known Seven Disasters in the Universal Gate Chapter. Master Sheng Yen had once remarked, "The Seven Disasters are only a representation; in fact, Bodhisattva Guanyin (Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, in Sanskrit) answers all prayers, such that all hardships and suffering shall be managed."
The Seven Disasters refer to the disasters encountered by the body. In addition to physical disasters, the sutra also describes the Three Poisons that constitute people's mental afflictions: greed, anger, and ignorance. It also points out how, by chanting the Bodhisattva's name, one will be able to liberate oneself from danger and be cured from mental poisons.
However, the material, everyday suffering we undergo is not, in fact, considered to be true suffering. Master Sheng Yen once said that, from a Buddhist perspective, the true suffering in life is to not know of the Buddha's teachings, as well as for one's mind to be caught in the endless cycle of affliction. As a result of affliction, there is birth and death. "The true essence of Bodhisattva Guanyin's spirit of liberating sentient beings from hardships and suffering is that he liberates them from the sea of birth and death. For this is the true, fundamental nature of hardships and suffering."
How does Bodhisattva Guanyin, with his compassion, attain his goal of liberating sentient beings from their suffering? He does so by spreading the Dharma. Only when we hear the Dharma being preached and are able to use it to lessen the vexations which cause us to reincarnate in the cycle of birth and death, can we be completely liberated from suffering. This is the highest form of liberation.
Q1: Why is Guanyin known as "Guan-shi-yin" in Chinese Buddhism?
Q2: From which kinds of suffering does Bodhisattva Guanyin liberate us from?
Q3: How does Bodhisattva Guanyin hear sentient beings' cries for help?
Q4: How does Bodhisattva Guanyin rescue sentient beings?
Q5: How do sentient beings resonate with Bodhisattva Guanyin?
Q6: Why does Bodhisattva Guanyin often manifest into a female form, if he has a myriad amount of manifestations?
Q7: Is it especially efficacious to pray and ask Bodhisattva Guanyin for a child?
Q8: Why didn't Bodhisattva Guanyin accept Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent's offerings?
Q9: What is the meaning of the term "Universal Gate" from the Lotus Sutra's Universal Gate Chapter on Bodhisattva Guanyin?
Resource: Humanity Magazine #386 (人生雜誌第386期)
Translation: Ariel Shen (沈純湘)
Edited by: Keith Brown, Ven. Yan Hsiang (演香法師)
Photo: Quan Tsai (蔡全)