Ven. Master Hsuan Hua


Today, I am going to transmit a secret to you. What is it? When you find yourself in an emergency, don’t panic. Stay calm, put the matter of life and death aside, and recite Guanshiyin Bodhisattva’s name single-mindedly. You’ll definitely get through the danger safely. When you are in great danger, contemplate like this: “I’m going to die pretty soon, but before I die I want to recite Guanshiyin Bodhisattva’s name with all my might. Maybe there’s still a slight chance for me.” If you can contemplate this way, you won’t have any problems in dangerous situations. For example, suppose the airplane you are on suddenly has some problem and is about to make a crash landing. Right at that time you should recite Guanshiyin Bodhisattva’s name. Guanshiyin Bodhisattva rescues people from suffering and danger, and he responds to all prayers. You should think, “My life is in extreme danger. If I don’t recite Guanshiyin Bodhisattva’s name, there’s no hope.” At a time like this, you must recite with utmost sincerity and pray that Guanshiyin Bodhisattva will compassionately save the lives of everyone on the plane. When we recite Guanshiyin Bodhisattva’s name in a recitation session, that is the kind of contemplation we should make. We can also make this contemplation: “The train I’m on has derailed. Now at this critical moment, if I don’t recite Guanshiyin Bodhisattva’s name, all passengers on this train are going to die.” 

The recitation of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva’s name is a call for help. When the Bodhisattva hears it, no matter how far away you are, he will be there instantly and bring you out of your suffering and difficulty. It’s very efficacious. We can also contemplate: “We are at sea, and our ship is about to sink. At this dangerous moment I must recite Guanshiyin Bodhisattva’s name. Even at the last minute or even the last second, I must recite.” If you can contemplate and recite like this, the danger will be transformed into auspiciousness. We can also contemplate that we are riding in a car that is traveling at high speed. Suddenly, the car breaks down and swerves off the road over a steep cliff. Now if the car were to crash onto the rocks below, everything would be smashed to pieces. At that moment, if you can recite Guanshiyin Bodhisattva’s name as if your life depended on it, the car will reach the bottom of the cliff safely. You will be shocked, but there will be no danger. This is a response obtained from reciting Guanshiyin Bodhisattva’s name. 

When we recite Guanyin Bodhisattva’s name at a critical moment, that recitation surpasses tens of millions of recitations during ordinary times. Why? Because when we are safe and sound, our recitation is not sincere enough. Therefore, we have to recite sincerely if we want to obtain an inconceivable response. Just now I said to Guo Qian, “If you recite Guanshiyin Bodhisattva’s name right now at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas as sincerely as you did when you were on that boat, you will obtain a response. At that time, there was a storm and the boat you were on could have capsized at any time. If you hadn’t recited Guanyin’s name, you wouldn’t have had a chance. Since you did recite, you had about one chance in ten thousand of surviving. You kept reciting earnestly, and so the storm subsided and you made it to shore safely. Now you want to take a rest when you’re reciting, because you aren’t in that kind of danger.” In fact, we should contemplate like this:   


This day is already done.

Our lives are that much less.

We are like fish in an ever-shrinking pond.

What joy is there in this?

Great assembly!

We should be diligent and vigorous

As if our own heads were at stake.

Be mindful of impermanence,

And be careful not to be lax!


We should recite Guanshiyin Bodhisattva’s name at all times. In movement and stillness, during the day and at night, we should constantly be mindful. We can recite out loud or silently in our minds; the merit is the same. We shouldn’t discriminate between the two; just accord with conditions. We should know that when it’s time to die, we may not have any chance to recite Guanyin’s name even if we want to. And so, “Be mindful of impermanence, and be careful not to be lax!”


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