Great Compassion Mantra - summary of first 6 lines
Good morning, everyone! This is today's Dharma Espresso on the "Summary of the First Six Lines of the Great Compassion Mantra.”
The first six lines of the Great Compassion Mantra are the six boundless miracles.
1. Namo Ratna Trayaya: bowing to the Three Jewels
2. Namo Arya: bowing to the Great Saints
3. Avalokiteshvaraya: theBodhisattva of Deep Listening
4. Bodhisattvaya: an enlightened one who helps to enlighten others
5. Mahasattvaya: a great person with a mind wide-open and completely free
6. Mahakarunikaya: a great one with loving-kindness and compassion, very lovable, forgiving, open, and understanding
Those six lines give us three outcomes:
First, they form a path for us to follow.
Second, they let us know what we will become. We will become the Three Jewels, a bodhisattva of deep listening, a bodhisattva willing to serve others, a sage whose mind is always open, or a great person full of love and forgiveness. Knowing what we will become is very important. After all, what's the use of cultivating if we don't know what we will become?
Finally, although these six lines are at the beginning of the Mantra, they show us our ultimate final destination.
Thus, when we bring forth our Bodhi mind, we follow a direction with six aspects. Cultivating the Bodhisattva Path is practicing how to develop these six aspects. Isn't it wonderful? But there is one problem.
In the beginning, we'd resolve strongly to cultivate, but gradually we’d lag behind. Our enthusiasm slowly wanes. When we first decide to teach Integral Tai Chi, we'd be very eager. We'd become a good instructor. We'd be self-disciplined about staying up late and getting up early to prepare for class. Then after a few years, our discipline declines. We no longer do things for other living beings or for our students. We'd show up in class routinely, and then go home, not thinking of sharing loving-kindness, warmth, enthusiasm, or caring with anyone. This may be very worrisome for some instructors and volunteers since they don't get paid.
Every time we perform a public service, though we accumulate merit, we have to watch out for possible consequences. Our monkey mind, i.e. our ego, can gradually take over our beginning Bodhi mind; our self-discipline can weaken, our movements are no longer precise or mindful, and our mind once eager to evolve may now stand still. Therefore, we constantly need to find all possible ways to transcend and move forward.
Age is also an important factor. Without practicing the movements that nourish the beginning Bodhi mind, the process of aging will tire us out more and more, and we will have all kinds of excuses to be lazy, not to do this or do that. Usually, to show off our good face, we tend to criticize other people and our organization. We never bother to change our perspective about something bad that happened before, and keep talking about it. But who suffers then? We do, since we have no more incentive to bring forth the Bodhi mind, no more enthusiasm and youthfulness. That is so sad. Don't think that we live in a world of right or wrong, and that we always have to be right. Don't think that being right or wrong is more important than your eagerness and dedication for your cultivation. When your enthusiasm dies, even if you are right, you're still suffering, getting older and dried up. You'll be lacking in the sweet dew of love and compassion, and lacking in the openness of the boundless sky.
Thus, we have to nurture our passion and enthusiasm and be disciplined with ourselves. We should continue to transcend without lagging behind. We shouldn't say things like, "You go ahead and do it. I'll stand behind and be humble. I don't want to do it." Instead, we need to move forward and volunteer to do things. Don't worry about doing things wrong. We'd rather incite our passion, take time to listen, and make an effort toward self-discipline to bring forth our Bodhi mind. Otherwise, we'll keep going backwards. If you think you'd rather be humble, you'd rather step back because you think the organization is not running well, or the teacher is not good, or some members are mean with you, then you'll be stuck forever, and your beginning Bodhi mind won't be ignited to become a force that can pull you out of the muddy swamp. That swamp is the ego with hundreds of voices to drown us and prevent us from bringing forth our Bodhi mind. Therefore, we should remember and recite these first six lines.
I've thought it over and decided that I'll give a series of lectures on the Great Compassion Mantra this weekend, on October 14-15. It will be the most basic class of the Bodhisattva Path. We just finished the series on Kwan Yin's Six Hands and Eyes and practiced them already. So we'll go back to the theory of the Great Compassion Mantra, and I'll teach the most basic concepts. You should get your friends and relatives to come, and we can practice how to recite this Mantra. Meanwhile, we'll also practice how to inject passion and enthusiasm into our mind. We shouldn't always try to protect our own face, thinking that we're right every time, and that we're good all the time. Being right and good has no importance in the spiritual evolution. Our spirituality goes beyond right and wrong. It is transrational, lifting us out of right-wrong, self-other, good-bad, have-have not, happy-sad, or win-lose. We have to get out of these dualities.
I hope you'll come to practice with me on the 14th and 15th of October. I hope you'll always keep your passion and enthusiasm in bringing forth your Bodhi mind to follow the spirit of these first six lines and become Kwan Yin Bodhisattva, or become her transformation body.
Have a lovely day. Be joyful and awake with this Dharma Espresso. Thank you for listening.
Dharma Master Heng Chang
(Translated and transcribed by Compassionate Service Society)