Discourse on the Lotus of the Wonderful Dharma: Universal Door Chapter

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This translation of the Discourse on the Lotus of the Wonderful Dharma: Universal Door Chapter has been prepared by Thich Nhat Hanh from Saddharmapundarika Sutra,Chapter 25, Taisho Revised Tripitaka 262. It appears in Thich Nhat Hanh, Chanting From The Heart (Parallax Press, Rev.Ed., 2006)

It is recited regularly at Plum Village practice centers around the world, as part of our daily sitting and chanting sessions.

 

 


Discourse on the Lotus of the Wonderful Dharma: Universal Door Chapter

 

Introductory Gatha

Chanting the Lotus Sutra by night,

the sound shook the galaxies.

The next morning when planet Earth woke up,

her lap was full of flowers.

 

Discourse

Buddha of ten thousand beautiful aspects,

may I ask you this question:

“Why did they give that bodhisattva

the name Avalokita?”

 

The World-Honored One, beautifully adorned,

offered this reply to Akshayamati:

“Because actions founded on her deep aspiration

can respond to the needs of any being in any circumstance.

 

“Aspirations as wide as the oceans

were made for countless lifetimes.

She has attended to billions of Buddhas,

her great aspiration purified by mindfulness.

 

“Whoever calls her name or sees her image,

if their mind be perfectly collected and pure,

they will then be able to overcome

the suffering of all the worlds.

 

“When those with cruel intent

push us into a pit of fire,

invoking the strength of Avalokita,

the fire becomes a refreshing lake.

 

“Adrift on the waters of the great ocean,

threatened by monsters of the deep,

invoking the strength of Avalokita,

we are saved from the storm waves.

 

“Standing atop Mount Meru,

should someone desire to push us down,

invoking the strength of Avalokita,

we dwell unharmed like the sun hanging in space.

 

“Chased by a cruel person

down the Diamond Mountain,

invoking the strength of Avalokita,

not even a hair of our body will be in danger.

 

“Encircled and assaulted by bandits

holding swords to wound and to kill,

invoking the strength of Avalokita,

sword blades shatter into millions of pieces.

 

“Imprisoned or bound in iron chains,

with hands and feet placed in a yoke,

invoking the strength of Avalokita,

we are released into freedom.

 

“Poisons, curses, and bewitchings

putting us into danger,

invoking the strength of Avalokita,

harmful things return to their source.

 

“Attacked by a fierce and cruel yaksha,

a poisonous naga, or unkind spirit,

invoking the strength of Avalokita,

they will do us no harm.

 

“With wild animals all around

baring their teeth, tusks, and claws,

invoking the strength of Avalokita

will cause them to run far away.

 

“Confronted with scorpions and poisonous snakes,

breathing fire and smoke of poisonous gas,

invoking the strength of Avalokita,

they depart, the air clears.

 

“Caught beneath lightning, thunder, and clouds,

with hail pouring down in torrents,

invoking the strength of Avalokita,

the storm ends, the sunlight appears.

 

“All living beings caught in distress,

oppressed by immeasurable suffering

are rescued in ten thousand ways

by the wonderful power of her understanding.

 

“Miraculous power with no shortcoming,

wisdom and skillful means so vast —

in the Ten Directions of all the worlds,

there is no place she does not appear.

 

“The paths to realms of suffering,

the pain of birth, old age, sickness, and death,

hells, hungry spirits, or animals

are all purified, brought to an end.

 

“Look of truth, look of purity,

look of boundless understanding,

look of love, look of compassion —

the look to be always honored and practiced.

 

“Look of immaculate light and purity,

the Sun of Wisdom destroying darkness,

master of fire, wind, and disaster

illuminating the whole world.

 

“Heart of compassion like rolling thunder,

heart of love like gentle clouds,

water of Dharma nectar raining upon us,

extinguishing the fire of afflictions.

 

“In the courtroom, the place of lawsuits,

on the fields in the midst of war,

invoking the strength of Avalokita,

our enemies become our friends.

 

“Sound of wonder, noble sound,

sound of one looking deeply into the world,

extraordinary sound, sound of the rising tide,

the sound to which we will always listen.

 

“With mindfulness, free from doubts,

in moments of danger and affliction,

our faith in the purity of Avalokita

is where we go for refuge.

 

“We bow in gratitude to the one

who has all the virtues,

regarding the world with compassionate eyes,

an Ocean of Well-Being beyond measure.”

 

Saddharmapundarika Sutra, Chapter 25,

Taisho Revised Tripitaka 262

 

 

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