October 25, 1972. Wednesday Evening.
On Miraculous Events
Ven. Master Hsuan Hua
Not only was the Bodhimanda where the Buddha realized Buddhahood inconceivable, this very bodhimanda where we are explaining the Flower Adornment Sutra is also an inconceivable place where all kinds of events occur. Several days ago, a “stone man” came to listen to the sutra lecture. Perhaps one day a “wooden man” will show up as well. The “stone man” stayed here quite a few days, but no one recognized him. Before his arrival, a ghost came –quite an inconceiveable one. It was not a good ghost that loved to eat things, especially aples. That was a miraculous event. I’m not joking. When you encounter someone you don’t recognize, he or she may very well be a Bodhisattva or a Buddha or an Arhat. Or the person might also be a ghost or demon or monster- it’s not for sure. In general, these are all possibilities.
Today, on the anniversary of Guanyin Bodhisattva’s entering the monastic life [October 25, 1972], several of us went to visit a manisfestation of Guanyin in the form of a layperson [Upsaka Chang Dai-Chien]. This layman has forgotten his connection with Guanyin Bodhisattva and has gotten caught up in the five desires. However, since his inherent nature is not completely confused, he still believes in Buddhism.
You can find this transformation of Guanyin Bodhisattva as a mighty hero among the Great Compassion Mantra manifestations. [Editor’ note: See Great Compassion Mantra Verses, BTTS, 2000, page 38, line 30: two la two la.] That’s who we visited today. You could say that our reason for going to see him were not insignificant. We went intending to influence him and to remind him of his actual calling. So, some of us set out at five o’clock this morning and others left around six. Professor Hsieh accompanied us. She also has many good roots and has deep affinities with this transformation of Guanyin Bodhisattva.
This was the first time I ever visited an artist at his studio. Although there are other artists who also do excellent work, I have never had the time to visit their studios. You could say that this particular artist has been a fellow cultivator of mine for a long time, so I have special affinities with him. When we chatted with each other we found that we did have deep bonds. I found him to be honest and frank, not obsequious or crafty.
Hopefully this layman can bring forth the bodhi resolve – if not now, then in the future. We ought to watch over him and help him out. One needs to use different ways to cross over living beings. Today we went through some hard work to do this. As to whether this transformation body of Guanyin Bodhisattva will recognize his original face and go back to the source, only time will tell.
[Editor’s note: Later, the Master wrote a verse about Chang Dai-Chien
For the Great Chinese Painter Chang Dai-chien
Foremost in Chinese painting is my fellow cultivator from another life.
Your name is heard throughout the cosmos.
In the past and present, in
and abroad, China
Your work is widely known, and no one wants to miss it.
It’s quick as a lightning flash in space, reaching higher than the heavens.
Guanyin manifests the appearance of a great hero.
AmitÁbha himself would praise your elder’s countenance.
Playing in samÁdhi is delightful,
But don’t forget your purple-golden lotus in the West.
Given by the mountain monk Hsuan Hua on October 9, in the 2999th year of the Buddha.
Timely Teachings - pp. 168 - 170