The Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, who is also called An Tz'u and Tu Lun, was born in Manchuria, Sung Chiang Province, Shuang Ch'eng County, near the city of Harbin on the Sungari River.
His mother, maiden name Hu, was a devoted Buddhist who ate only pure vegetarian food and recited the Buddha's name all throughout her life. One night, in a dream, she saw Amitabha Buddha emitting brilliant light which shone throughout the world and shook heaven and earth.
Startled, she awoke to find the room filled with a rare fragrance and at that moment the Master was born. He cried continuously for three days out of deep sympathy for beings who suffer in the saha world.
The Master was raised in a remote country village. One day when he saw an infant wrapped in straw lying in the brush. Its eyes and mouth were shut, and when he called to it, it did not respond. The Master had never seen death and questioned his companions who answered "It's death!". When he returned home he asked his mother who said "Everyone must die. Some die of old age, some of disease and some in accidents, all must eventually die". "But There must be a way to escape death!" said the Master. "There is," replied a visitor. "You must cultivate the Way; that is the only method. Understand your own mind and become enlightened to your basic nature. In this way you may end birth and death and stop the revolving wheel of rebirth."
Filiality is the foremost of the ten thousand virtues and the foundation of all cultivation. The Master bow to his father and mother three times each, in the morning and the evening - twelve bows every day. Then he thought, "The world is bigger than just my father and mother," and he began to bow to the heavens, to the earth, and to his teachers as well, which took about three hours a day in all.
The Master didn't let others see him bow. He rose at four in the morning, washed his face, went outside, lit a stick of incense, and bowed, regardless of the weather. If there was snow on the ground, he would just bow in the snow. He practised this way for many years until later, while practicing filial piety beside his mother's grave for a period of three years, he lessened his bows to nine a day in order to save time.
One evening at twilight the residents of the nearby village saw a brilliant light ascend from the Master's hut. It rose some thirty feet in the air, illumining the entire area as bright as day. In alarm they cried, "The filial son's hut is on fire! is he alive or dead? We must go put it out!" They ran to the graveyard with buckets of water, but when they arrived they found the tiny hut as peaceful as ever, with the Master sitting upright by the light of a single oil lamp, reciting the Buddha's name. In deep admiration, they said among themselves that the Master had truly attained the Way as revealed through the great beam of light.
The Master's following increased greatly from that, and visitors came from hundreds of miles to receive his teaching and pay their respects. When his filial duties were completed, the Master went into seclusion in Amitabha Cave in the mountains east of his hometown. There he delved deeply into dhyana meditation and practiced rigorous asceticism, eating only pine nuts and drinking spring water. The area abounded with wild beasts, but they never disturbed the Master. In fact, wolves and bears behaved liked house pets, tigers stopped to listen to his teaching, and wild birds gathered to hear the wonderful Dharma.
Those are all indications that the Master's level of attainment had already gone beyond that which our ordinary minds can grasp and that he had entered an inconceivable state.
The Master taught his disciples that every day they should sit in meditation, recite the Buddha's name, bow in repentance, investigate the Sutras, rigorously uphold the precepts, eat only one meal a day, and only before noon, and always wear the precept sash. He instructed them to dwell in harmony and offer encouragement to teach other. In this way he established a Sangha that genuinely practices the Buddhadharma in the West, in the hope of uplifting the orthodox teaching and causing the Proper Dharma to long abide. The Venerable Master also opened up the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas as an international religious center promoting the unity of all world religions by giving everyone a chance to learn, communicated, cooperate, pursue the truth, and work for world peace.
The Secret behind The Ten Thousand Buddhas
The most eye-catching thing about the Jeweled Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas is that the walls on all four sides are covered with a grid of compartments, and each compartment contains a statue of a Buddha. There are a total of ten thousand Buddha statues, great and small. When one stands amidst them, one feels as if one is in the Thousand Buddhas Cave in Dunhuang, China.
It should be mentioned that these ten thousand Buddha statues were made by the Venerable Master himself over ten years ago. Foregoing sleep, the Master spent the nights casting each statue from a mold and then etching its features by hand. The features are simple and serene, not elaborately decorated. It is said that when the Master cast the molds, he added a snatch of his own hair (The hair of the Living Enlightened Master) to each statue.
NB : At the time of "death" an Awakened One not only discards his body, but also his or her mind. Such discarded minds then turn into small minute particles and fragments and become the "most precious dust" of the universe - the energy dust.
By accessing one of those particles or fragments one can experience a quantum leap of consciousness. For instance, if you access one of the particles from Jesus' mind, then you need not undergo all the experiences that he had to undergo in his lifetime to attain the Christhood - you can attain the same level of consciousness instantly.
"One must correctly identify the particle one wants to access. First, the Awakened being whose particles of mind you want to access must be a kind of 'Hero' for you - an Ideal Being that you actually love. For instance, if you are drawn toward the 'person' of Jesus, then try accessing his discarded mind. Do not try to access the mind of Siddharta, though both of them were enlightened, awakened beings.
"Secondly, it is easier to access the mind discarded within the last 500 years. And thirdly, you must ensure that the mind you are accessing is a 'discarded' one. In other words, it must have belonged to an awakened being.
"You may consider your favorite religious leader as an awakened being and try to access his mind. If his mind is still whole, dense and occupying a different body now, then you will be accessing that body. In that case the leap which one experiences is negligible, not a quantum one.
"Easiest of all would be to identify a Living Master who is on the last leg of this or her journey. Such a master is on his or her way to immortality, where death is no more - all is life, life and life... Give yourself up to such a master. Love him or her deeply, with all your heart and soul. Think of the master all the while. You can even easily meditate on such a master, for he is no longer a he. She is no longer a she. A True Master, A Satguru is indeed The Living Manifestation of the Unmanifestable. Such a Master represents the Great Void - and by attaching yourself to The Void, you become Void too.
"Attachment to the Void, in fact, cannot be called attachment. It is love - pure and transcendental Love. Loving the void, you become one with the Void. You become the Void.
Venerable Master Hsuan Hua's Sharira
According to historical records, the people of ancient India used the term "sharira" to refer to rice grains. After Shakyamuni entered Nirvana and his body was cremated, there were bone relics resembling five-colored pearls, luminous and hard, about the size of grains of rice, and they were called sharira. It is recorded in the Sutras that sharira are gained through being permeated by the cultivation of precepts, samadhi, and wisdom. They are very rare and serve as supreme fields of blessings. The Sutra of Golden Light says, "Sharira are what is important in the merit and virtue of cultivating the Six Paramitas." Therefore, the appearance of sharira after cremation proves that the cultivator has considerable attainment in precepts, samadhi, and wisdom.
The Venerable Master Hua's sharira (relics after cremation) include teeth sharira. More than four thousand sharira seeds and several hundred sharira clusters have been counted. The sharira are white, light yellow, green, blue, black, and other colors. Some of the sharira which are formed on the bones gleam like green jade; they are particularly rare. One of the Venerable Master's disciples, moved by the sight of the Master's teeth sharira, said, "In his life, the Venerable Master lectured on the Sutras and spoke Dharma in several tens of thousands of assemblies. No wonder his cremation yielded teeth relics!" Another disciple commented, "The Venerable Master only spoke true and actual words. That's why his teeth have become relics after cremation."
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