Author Topic: Fazhao's Vision  (Read 1546 times)

Offline Will

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Fazhao's Vision
« on: August 13, 2013, 08:30:47 pm »
From Thinking of Amitabha Buddha, tr by Rulu, pp 205-6

In the summer of 769, in a Dharma assembly at the nearby Hudong Temple, Fazhao led a group practice of chanting Amitabha Buddha’s name in five parts. Their sincere calls were answered by the appearance of colorful clouds all over the sky. In the clouds stood towers, temples, and the Three Holy Ones— Amitabha Buddha, flanked by Bodhisattvas Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta. The people of Hengyang all witnessed this display, which lasted for a long time. They all burned incense and made obeisance. That evening, Fazhao came across an old man, who said to him, “You made a wish to visit the golden world on Wutaishan, to make obeisance to Mañjusri Bodhisattva. Why do you linger here?”
Fazhao answered, “The times are hard and the journey is rough.”
The old man said, “If one has strong aspiration, what difficulty can there be?” Then the old man disappeared.

On the thirteenth day of the eighth month of 769, Fazhao, together with a team of fellow monks, set off on a pilgrimage to the Wutai Mountain. On the sixth day of the fourth month of 770, they safely arrived at the Foguang (Buddha light) Temple in Wutai County. Before dawn, Fazhao saw a beam of white light shining on him. He followed it for fifty lis, and arrived at a mountain, under which was a steam. On the north bank of this stream was a stone gate, at which stood two youths. They introduced themselves as Sudhana and Nanda. Escorted by them, Fazhao went inside the gate and walked five lis to a temple which bore a sign that read “Zhulin Temple of the Great Holy.” The ground there was gold and adorned with jeweled flowers and trees, just as he had seen in his vision. Fazhao entered the auditorium of the temple and found Bodhisattvas Mañjusri and Samantabhadra, each seated on a jeweled lion throne and surrounded by a multitude of Bodhisattvas. Fazhao approached them, made obeisance, and said, “Ordinary beings in this Dharma-ending age have low capacities and severe hindrances. They are unable to uncover their Buddha nature. Which Dharma Door can easily lead them to the essence of the vast Buddha Dharma?”
Mañjusri Bodhisattva replied, “Your question is opportune. In this Dharma ending age, no Dharma Door can better fulfill one’s wisdom and merit than the double Dharma Door of thinking of Buddhas and making offerings to the Three Jewels. In past kalpas, through thinking of Buddhas and making offerings to the Three Jewels, I acquired [sarvajña-jñana] the knowledge of all knowledge. All good dharmas, such as paramita and profound dhyana, are born from thinking of Buddhas, which is the king of dharmas.”

Fazhao asked, “How does one think of Buddhas?”
Mañjusri Bodhisattva replied, “West of here is a world in which resides Amitabha Buddha. The power of His vows is inconceivable. You should think of Him without interruption. After death, you will definitely be reborn in His land, standing on the Ground of No Regress.”
Bodhisattvas Mañjusri and Samantabhadra both extended their golden arms and rubbed the crown of Fazhao’s head. They said, “Because you think of Buddhas, you will soon attain anuttara-samyak-sambodhi. If good men and good women single-mindedly think of Buddhas, they too will quickly attain anuttarasamyak-sambodhi.”
Exultantly and exuberantly Fazhao made obeisance to them. He left the auditorium, and the two youths escorted him outside the temple. No sooner did he raise his head than the temple vanished. Fazhao then made a pile of stones to mark the site.

On the eighth day of that month, Fazhao and his group went to the Huayan Temple and settled down. On the thirteenth day, he and fifty or so fellow monks went to the Vajra Cave of the Wutai Mountain. They reverently chanted thirty-five Buddhas’ names, making obeisance to each name. After only ten prostrations, Fazhao saw the cave turn into a vast clean place where stood a palace made of pure aquamarine. Present inside were holy Bodhisattvas, including Mañjusri and Samantabhadra.
Hoping to see Mañjusri Bodhisattva once again, Fazhao later returned to the cave alone. He prostrated himself on the ground and prayed. Suddenly he saw an Indian monk who called himself Buddhapala. Buddhapla led him to a sparkling jeweled temple with a sign above its door, the golden words on which read “Vajra Prajña Temple.” In the temple compound stood hundreds of majestic towers and mansions, and Mañjusri the Great Holy was surrounded by the multitudes. Fazhao wanted to stay there, but Buddhapala did not permit him. He led Fazhao outside and said, “Train assiduously. When you return, you may stay.”

In the twelfth month of that year, Fazhao began a meditation retreat at the Huayan Temple. He fasted and vowed to be reborn in the Pure Land. On the evening of the seventh day, an Indian monk entered the hall and asked him, “Why do you not tell people what you have experienced here on Wutaishan?” Then the Indian monk vanished. Next day, in the afternoon, Fazhao saw another Indian monk, about eighty years of age, who sternly said to him, “If you share with sentient beings your
extraordinary experiences on Wutaishan, they will be inspired to activate the bodhi mind. Why do you not do it?”
Fazhao replied, “I do not dare to conceal the holy Way. However, I fear that people might doubt my words and slander me.”
The old monk said, “Even Mañjusri the Great Holy, who resides on this mountain, cannot avoid slanders. It is more important to induce sentient beings to activate the bodhi mind than to save yourself.” After his retreat ended, Fazhao wrote down his experiences, and circulated his stories for the world to know.
The bodhi resolve is like empty space, this because its marvelous qualities are boundlessly vast.  Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 39

Offline Lobster

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Re: Fazhao's Vision
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2013, 01:23:28 am »
Many thanks Skull. I am glad to say I do not have the sanctity and purity to have such visions. The best I can hope for is seeing a monk with stories to tell . . .

In Zen the miracle is ordinary. In others experience it is . . . see above . . .  :buddha2:

Offline Will

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Re: Fazhao's Vision
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2014, 01:02:13 pm »
Just bumping upward this experience resulting from devotion to Amita Buddha.
The bodhi resolve is like empty space, this because its marvelous qualities are boundlessly vast.  Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 39

 


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