Good morning, everyone. This is today’s Dharma Espresso on “Friendship and Mother's Love.”
Yesterday, I said that a good friend has three qualities.
First, when we fall down a deep abyss, a good friend would always stand there for us to lean on, lift us out of that dark hole, and sometimes show us the right way so we won't fall down again.
Secondly, a good friend is very generous, never selfish, always willing to do things for us, to set a good example, making us feel that we benefit much from the friendship. A good friend always gives unconditionally, never trying to manipulate us, or to get back something.
Thirdly, a good friend is always ready to sacrifice for our success, achievement, and enlightenment. This is a great sacrifice.
After listening to these, you might ask, "Who in this world have all those qualities?" I can tell you right away: "That person is usually a mother." If a father has all those qualities, he would become our idol, and we'd be ready to do and live according to his values and image. But how can our mother achieve all those things? Because a mother's love always leads to caring, boundless generosity, and great sacrifices. When we trip and fall, she would never hit, scold, or ignore us. She always loves us and finds ways to help and save us.
Thus, when we cultivate the qualities of a good friend, we are cultivating the qualities of a mother. Now you know why, since the old days, a friend's core values and friendship are so important and touch us deeply, like a mother's love.
To an agricultural, not cultural, civilization, the image of a mother is very important. Kwan Yin Bodhisattva became a mother for that reason. She wanted to manifest the deepest friendship, the most profound mother's love which is called bodhisattva's love. Hence, when we practice the Bodhisattva Path, we're actually practicing the path of friendship, of mother's love, not something farfetched.
Every day, we pray to Kwan Yin Bodhisattva and recite the Great Compassion Mantra. But do you know how to become Kwan Yin Bodhisattva? In the Great Compassion Mantra, the first three lines go: "Na mo he la da nwo dwo la ye ye / Namo e li ye / Pwo lu jye di shau bwo la ye " What do they mean?
Na mo means bowing to or showing respect, not to the Bodhisattva, but to ourselves. We bow to become the object of our bow. Thus, "Na mo he la da nwo dwo la ye ye" means we bow to the Three Jewels, and as a result, we become the Three Jewels.
"Na mo e li ye" means we bow to the sages, those who have transcended beyond the Ten Dwellings, Ten Practices, Ten Merit Transferences, and become Ten Grounds Bodhisattvas, no longer in the cycle of birth and death. They have attained selflessness and non-duality, having great compassion and supernatural powers, like saints. So you see that this is a very important notion: We become those saints.
“Pwo lu jye di shau bwo la ye" means that we become Kwan Yin, a mother. So when we recite the Great Compassion Mantra daily, we become more and more like Kwan Yin Bodhisattva.
You might ask, "But Master, I've recited this mantra over a hundred thousand times, how come I haven't become a bodhisattva?" The answer is, your consciousness deep down below, which is the Alaya consciousness, might have already sowed the seed of Kwan Yin Bodhisattva and developed some saintly roots, but your karmic retributions above, like tree branches, are still alive and active. Like the tree trunk and branches, we are still ordinary sentient beings, and should cultivate our actions, behavior, thoughts, habits, etc. to become saintlier, like the seed of a saint that we have sowed down below.
Therefore, when we recite daily, "Shau bwo la ye / Pu ti sha two pe ye..." our consciousness should also be more and more like a mother. What does this mean? It means that we are willing to sacrifice, to be very giving, very generous, and do things that would touch our children's hearts. Don't ever think that we give so that our children will give us back later. If and when they do, we will be happy to receive. We should always live with the thought and the consciousness of a mother who can give endlessly.
This is the most wonderful and greatest teaching of Buddhism. We don't need to cultivate anything too far-reaching. We simply cultivate the qualities of a friend and a mother. With those combined qualities, we will begin to have the qualities of a bodhisattva, a person who's always ready to do voluntary services, and to do things that touch others' hearts.
That's enough for today's Dharma Espresso. Have a joyful and awakening day!
Dharma Master Heng Chang
(Translated and transcribed by Compassionate Service Society)