Red Lotuses Burst Forth All Over the Earth
Ven. Master Hsuan Hua
That you are still pursuing your work so diligently, reciting the Buddha’s name in spite of the cold weather, is a sure sign of your sincerity; if you were not serious you wouldn’t be able to continue in this cold.
The Buddhas of the ten directions will emit light with which they will give us a physical examination; as if taking X-ray to see if we have any illnesses. The examination takes place because we are filling out immigration papers for entry into the Land of Ultimate Bliss.
Whenever you recite the Buddha’s name you plant a seed in the field of the Dharma-nature. Reciting is also like applying fertilizer, for if you recite a lot and are sincere, your lotus will be a superior grade and the fruit will be superb. If your recitation reaches the level of single-minded concentration, then on the verge of death you will be without sickness and pain, just as if you had entered Ch’an samadhi. You will be reborn in the Western Land from within the lotus. You will be reborn in the Western Land from within the lotus which you have nurtured. If you do not recite, the flower will wither from lack of nourishment.
If you continually apply effort, your wish will be fulfilled and you will be reborn in the flick of a wrist. Your karmic obstacles from past lives will instantly melt away so that you obtain the still, bright, pure, and permanent joy. When this happens, the superior person’s job is done, his work perfected, and all his wishes fulfilled.
The most important point of recitation is to recite to the state of no false thoughts, white and pure like snow, complete spotlessness. So the verse speaks of “whirling snow on icy cliffs.” The cold cliffs represent one’s false thoughts, while whirling snow melting away represent one's return to the origin. The pure self-nature can give birth to the red lotus because the red lotus is born from pure, undefiled people.
There is a simple analogy used to describe the Dharma-door of Buddha-recitation: a living being in the three realms is like a worm caught in a section of bamboo who is trying to bore his way out. In the practice of other Dharma-doors, one must crawl out step-by-step. For example, in practicing Dhyana, one must practice sitting meditation but it is easy to fall into the wrong paths. In following the Vinaya School, one must memorize volumes of rules and follow them without fail. Those who cultivate the Teaching School must read and recite the Sutras and lecture on the dharma. They have to “divide the doors, discriminate the classes, articulate the schools, apportion the teachings”; and so it is said,
Strange. In meditation, I was confronted by a woman who wished to argue with me about the earthquake. When her efforts proved futile she began to cry, whereupon I said, “The earth will not quake until such time as three suns rise in the west and set in the east.” These words caused her great sadness and she walked away. However, her spiritual penetrations were not small and before long three suns rose from the west and set in the east, and at that moment the earth was on the verge of quaking. I recognized this, however, for what it was and immediately said, “This is all empty and false. It is not true.” As soon as I said these words the whole thing dissolved.
Do you think this
was false or not? I can assure you it was false. What is true is recitation
of Amitabha Buddha’s name. Through recitation of the Buddha’s name you can
end birth and death, and then even if the sky falls in or the earth erupts,
you need not be concerned. The Dharma door of mindfulness of the Buddha is
of utmost importance, for by means of it you can conquer all disasters and