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Blog » Sweet Dews Of Dharma Talks » 2015 » The Cause and Condition of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara’s Rebirth in the Pureland

The Cause and Condition of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara’s Rebirth in the Pureland2015-05-20


Spoken by Dharma Master Heng Rong

English Translation by Genglin Zheng

Today is the birthday of Bodhisattva Guan yin.  I would like to take the opportunity to share a story about the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara’s rebirth in the Pure Land.

Once the Buddha and many sages were at a dharma assembly. At that time, great light shone before the Buddha while a verse was spoken from the light. The verse goes:

Accomplishing the gate of liberation by great compassion, He forever dwells in the Putuo Mountain of the Saha World, Contemplating the world throughout the day and night, He benefits all because of his past vows.

The  great assembly, awed by the brilliant light, and additionally by this voice from  the light, were eager to know the causation of it all. At this time, the King Mastering and Upholding At-ease Bodhisattva asked the Buddha about the causation of this phenomenon. The Buddha told the assembly,   “This is Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara from the Western World of Ultimate Bliss. He has come to tell the assembly about the cause and conditions of the past vows of his rebirth in the Pure Land.” At this time, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, along with one hundred thousand followers, appeared at Mount Gridhrakuta.  The King Mastering and Upholding At-ease Bodhisattva stepped forth to request the explanation of the causation, for which Boddhisattva Avalokitesvara gave the following speech:

Countless eons ago, in a country in India of the Saha World, there lived a couple who practiced brahmin. They were very rich but were heirless. This was a great disappointment to them, so day and night they prayed for a child to the Heavenly God. Before long, the wife was pregnant. In due time, she gave birth to a child with adorned and perfect features. Three years later, the wife gave birth to another child. The brahmin, out of great joy, hired someone to tell the children’s fortune. The fortune teller, upon seeing the children, appeared unhappy. He told the brahmin: “The two children of yours, even though both have adorned and perfect look, are soon to leave their parents.” It happens that the older child was named Leaving Early, and the second Leaving Quickly.

When Leaving Early was seven, his mother became ill. She was seriously ill. The two children cried all the time by their mother. The mother, hopelessly ill, looked at her two little kids who soon would be without a mother to raise them. She sat up, held the children, one in each arm, and told them, “Life is impermanent.  This body of ours eventually deteriorates. You should bring forth your great compassion.” At this, she told them ways to conduct themselves and how to bring forth the great Bodhi resolve.   Upon this, she said to the kids, “Now, before me, you must  bring forth the great Bodhi resolve.” At this, Leaving Early cried and fell out of consciousness while Leaving Quickly wailed next to him.  When the brahmin approached the mother and the children, the wife told him, “When I am gone, you should bring up the two kids properly. Meanwhile, you should also bring forth the great Bodhi resolve.”Thus, her life ended.

Father and sons buried the mother. The two kids on the father’s lap, all three were in tears. The brahmin thought, “What capability do I have to raise these two kids? I am simply not capable.”Later on he remembered a friend who was also a brahmin, the friend had a very duteous daughter.  He thought to himself,“I should marry that young lady so she can take care of the two kids.”So he married the young lady.

It was a time of famine. Many people were out of food. One day, this family was about to run out of food. The brahmin told his new wife, “I am going into the mountain. There grows a kind of berry, I’ll bring them home to feed you and the babies.”Then the brahmin left. Fourteen days passed, yet brahmin did not return. It occurred to the new wife, “My husband has not come back. Will he ever come back? If ever he comes back, will I have a share in the berries?”

The more she thought the worse she felt. Eventually one day she found a boatman and told the two kids, “Let’s go have some fun in the desert island over there.” The boat took the kids to the island. When the boat got there, the new wife told the kids, “Get down the boat and go play! I’ll prepare some food in the boat so when you come back hungry, you can eat.” How happy the two were! They ran further and further away and were soon out of sight. At this moment, the new wife told the boatman to hurry the boat away.    In the evening, the two kids grew tired and returned to the shore only to find neither the boat nor their new mother.  In fact, there was nothing. Hungry and scared, the two kids called out loudly in the desert island. They grew worried when they could not find their mother.

Leaving Early then told Leaving Quickly, “I don’t think we could ever go back.” In sadness, the two kids remembered how their mother, at her death bed, told them to have great Bodhi resolve. Right then, Leaving Early and Leaving Quickly made their great vows in the island. Among all 100 vows they made, are “For all beings without parents at birth, I will appear as a parent to raise them; for all without teachers, I will appear as a teacher to teach them. Up to and including kings, princes, officials, Brahmans, etc., when they incur sufferings, I will go to their rescue.”The children made these vows because their mother had also taught them that, “You should repay the four kindnesses above and aid those who suffer in the three evil realms; you should vow to aid in the enlightenment of all beings. Assisting all beings in their achievement will help your own achievement.” The two children passed away upon making these vows.

Not seeing his children when he returned, the brahmin asked his new wife, “Where are the kids?”The new wife told the brahmin, “The kids are out begging for food.” A long time passed without seeing his kids returning, the brahmin asked around. When he happened to ask a friend, the friend told him: “Fourteen days after you were gone, your wife sent the two children to a desert island. They must have starved to death by now.” The brahmin grew very anxious. He hired a boatman to take him right away to the uninhabited island.

Calling all over the place for his children upon arrival, he heard no answer. He searched around and found two dead bodies  --  the two children hugging each other.  Their clothes were left beside them. This brahmin recognized his children. He was heart-broken. Having losing a wife, he had now lost his two children. Right then, in the desert island, he too, started making great vows, five hundred of them. Upon making five hundred great vows, the brahmin went on fasting. He eventually passed away in the island.

At this point the Buddha said, “The brahmin in the story is myself –Shakyamuni Buddha; brahmin’s wife  is Amitabha  Buddha, Leaving Early is Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, Leaving Quickly is Great Strength Bodhisattva, The brahmin’s friend is King Mastering and Upholding At-ease Bodhisattva. Because Leaving Early and Leaving Quickly vowed to forever follow their parents, to this day Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara and Great Strength Bodhisattva follow Shakyamuni  Buddha and Amitabha Buddha. They too have been teaching and transforming living beings in the WesternWorld of Ultimate Bliss. Now that we have heard the story on this very special birthday of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, let’s hope we could take the opportunity to bring forth great Bodhi resolve. Amitabha!