The image above is of the Buddha rendered by the Chinese in China, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore. The image below is of the Buddha seen in Southeast Asia, including Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Thailand and Laos.
There are two Italian songs that reflect Buddhist teachings.
The Italian song El Bandolero Stanco by Roberto Vecchioni ends in the question “Dov’e` silenzio?”.
The Italian song Vanita` di Vanita` by Angelo Branduardi is self explanatory.
The Heart Sutra
The Eight Correct Ways of Buddhism
These are the Ba Zheng Dao (The Eight Correct Ways), also known as the Ba Sheng Dao (The Eight Sacred Ways) of Buddhism. They are the correct ways practiced by Buddhist saints (Bodhisattvas). 1. Correct and appropriate view of things and events. 2. Correct and appropriate thoughts. 3. Correct and appropriate speech. 4. Correct and appropriate behavior. 5. Correct and appropriate vocation. 6. Correct and appropriate study and self improvement. 7. correct and appropriate concepts. 8. Correct and appropriate meditation.
In around 1979, a Buddhist monk visited the University of California at Berkeley and gave a lecture on the Ba Zheng Tao. The term Ba Zheng Da is recorded and defined in the Chinese book Common Buddhist Terms compiled by Chen Yixiao and published in October, 2002, on Taiwan by the Kaohsiung Jing Zong Buddhist Association. A total of 1,000 copies were printed.
Fa Hua Jing
Fa Hua Jing is short for The Larger Sukhavativyuha Esoteric Lotus Sutra. It is based on the concept that the lotus flower’s purity demonstrates the intricacy and subtlety of the Larger Sukhavativyuha Sutra.
It is also known as the Jing Gang Dhyana, and Jing Gang Jing is the Dhyana Sutra. It talks about 12 Buddhist Vehicles and 13 levels of Consciousness (Larger Sukhavativyuha) and reveals the mysteries of the Universe. The doctrine of Dhyana is the teachings of the supreme Dharma of the Ahdharma Buddha. The Great Dharani methods are commonly known as the Jing Gang Dhyana of Chinese Buddhism and the Great Zongchi (holding the principal) methods involve meditation and internal martial arts for health. The teachings of the Ahdharma Buddha also talks about the human karma and the law of karmic causation. The term Jing Gang Ban Ruo Fa Hua is Dhyana Prajna of the Larger Esoteric Lotus Sutra. Some call it Chinese Esoteric Buddhism. A Chinese publication with the title Fa Hua Zhuan was printed (2000 copies) and published in 1993 on Taiwan. The book is a collection of Chinese Buddhist fables about ordinary people who practiced Fa Hua or Esoteric Buddhism and became enlightened beings.
Lectures by Master Jing Kong
Master Jing Kong gave a two-month lecture starting on June 2, 1993, at De Anza College in California, USA, on the Amituo jing (Amida kyo, Amida sutra, the Smaller Sukhavativyuha Sutra). His lectures were recorded by Liu Chen-fu, and the Tainan Amitabha Buddhist Soceity compiled the lecture notes in book form and printed 2000 copies in August, 1997.
The main theme of his lectures was on compassion and the Smaller Sukhavativyuha, but in talking about learning, he cited other sutras including the Medicine Sutra and he noted that learning is part of the Larger Sukhavativyuha Sutra.
The Chinese lectures by Master Jing Kong (chin Kung) were compiled (1994) in four large volumes by the Pure Land Learning Center on the Master’s 70th birthday (1996). A total of 10,000 copies were printed in Taipei and distributed by the Pure Land Learning Center and the Amitabha Buddhist Society. These four volumes are Master Jing Kong’s lectures on the Larger Sukhavativyuha. The four books (Vol. I 710 pp., Vol II 660 pp., Vol III 738 pp., Vol IV 686 pp.) total 2794 pages.
The Haven of Amitabha Land, 510 Apollo Road, Richardson, Texas, 75081, Tel. 972-918-0218 published and printed two booklets (1,000 copies each) of English translations of Master Chin Kung’s lectures. One booklet is entitled Inspiring Thoughts on the Respect for Life and the other is entitled In Reply to Doubts about Cultivating Buddhahood, both printed in June, 2008. The inside cover page has the words: “Sayings of the Venerable Master Chin Kung”.
In the published Sayings of the Venerable Master Ching Kung (Jing Kong) in the booklet Inspiring Thoughts on the Respect for Life, the Venerable Master says that: “zhen chen (sincerity), qing jing (purity), ping deng (equality), zheng ju”e (proper awareness), zi bei (compassion), kan puo (see through), fang xia (letting go), zi zai (personal freedom), sui yuan (accord with condition), lao shi nian Fuo (recite Buddha earnestly)” are the goals of Dharma teachings and the goals of personal cultivation as a Buddhist.
The Dharma is the ultimate law of all things and correct individual conduct in conformity with the Dharma.
Zhen chen, sincerity, is to be sincere in dealing with others, to be sincere in self improvement, and to be sincere in the cultivation of personal character.
Qing jing, purity, means purity and cleanliness of thought.
Ping deng, equality, is to treat all animate beings and inanimate things with equal respect.
Zheng ju”e, proper awareness, means proper awareness of the Buddhist truth, correct awareness of right and wrong, and awareness of the superficiality of mundane life.
Zi bei, compassion, means compassion (zi) for those who are suffering and to have sympathy (bei means sadness) for those who are suffering.
Kan puo literally means to see through falsehood and superficiality, and to come to a realization that materialism and vain ambitions are fundamentally empty.
Fang xia literally means to put down and to let go of mundane material desires and ambitions for superficial fame and fortune. In Buddhism, fame and fortune will come if one practices the Dharma with sincerity.
Zi zai literally means “self (zi) being (zai), to be, here, existential”. In numerous Buddhist writings, including annotations of the Heart Sutra which begins with the phrase “Guan Zi Zai Pu Sa..” (Observe the self being and self existence of Buddha), zi zai means the self being and self existence of Buddha. According to Buddhism, including the teachings of Master Jing Kong, is that “self being and self existence” is the goal we want to achieve through Buddhism and we begin by observing the “way of the Buddha.”
Sui yuan, has been translated as “accord with condition” by The Haven of Amitabha Land. Sui means to follow, and yuan actually means “fate” in the Buddhist sense. Yuan contains the meaning of “fate, fated, predetermined, determinism, predestination, that which Nature brings together one cannot push asunder.” Sui yuan thus means to follow Nature. It does not mean to follow one’s predestined fate since Buddhism teaches that fate, determinism, predestination can be changed by doing good deeds and thinking good thoughts, and most pertinently, being on good and proper behavior.
Lao shi nian Fuo as taught by Master Jing Kong and all Buddhist masters does not really mean just reciting the Buddhist scriptures earnestly although it is a requirement to become a good Buddhist. This phrase is expressed in many other ways: “qing nian Fuo” which means to conscientiously recite the Buddhist sutras. Those who read the Heart Sutra advise reciting the name of Guan Shi Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, a thousand times. Those who study the Diamond Sutra advise reciting that sutra, etc.
This is based on the general belief that the deities come alive and they will come to resolve one’s problems and rid one of an incurable disease when their names are recited. The Egyptians had the same belief, that by calling out the name of a deity or a pharaoh, he or she comes alive.
Lecture on protecting the nation and eliminating disaster by Yin Guang Fa Shir
These were lectures given on the first three days of an eight-day series of lectures given by Yin Guang Fa Shir on November 15-22, 1936, in Shanghai.
On the first day, Master Yin Guang talked about the importance of family education and early childhood education according to Buddhist teachings and principles. On the second day, he taught people how to behave in emergency circumstances and in daily routine circumstances. He said that if people practice doing good deeds, helping each other, speaking only good words in their daily lives, evil will not arise. Chaos and suffering are the results of greed.
He said that causality and reincarnation indicate that the spirit never dies. Those who think they can commit all sorts of crimes and do evil deeds without being punished are grossly mistaken. Justice and retribution will come by way of causality and reincarnation.
Faith and doing good deeds must be instilled in children by their parents from childhood.
Master Yin Guang often said that in exercising the authority to govern a nation and in maintaining peace in the world, mothers who take care of family affairs shoulder half of the authority.
Secondly, all human beings and animals are endowed with a soul, therefore there should not be any killing.
[Most of the animals that people kill for food are herbivores.]
On the third day, Master Yin Guang talked about personal and national greed as the root cause of all evil. It leads to immorality, cruelty, and the fall of nations. In order to protect and save the nation, we must all understand this causality.
[The Japanese aggressors established the Manchukuo puppet regime in 1933, and China's 8-year War of Resistance Against Japan lasted from 1937 to 1945.]
True understanding comes from the soul, not from twisted logic. Master Yin Guang was asked how can one escape bad fortune. He answered that one must truly understand causality and one must practice this understanding.
[A belief system that prevents me from eating garlic and pork, that justifies honor killing, that says that my daughter has to wear a veil and cover herself from head to toe, and that does not allow my daughter to get an education is twisted logic, Master Chen says]
[His lecture notes were published on March 6, 1937. They were republished in a booklet in December, 1991, and distributed by the Amitabha Buddhist Society. A total of 2,000 copies of the booklet were printed and distributed.]
Yin Guang Fa Shir also edited a compendium of classical Chinese sayings that teach proper behavior in interpersonal relationship called the “Gan Yin Pian”. The book has 1029 pages. It was published and printed (2000 copies) in 1992 (Bhddhist calendar year 2536). The book is distributed by the Saddharma Cakra Buddhist Association founded in July, 1986.
The Four Lessons of Liao Fan
Yuan Liao Fan (1533-1607*), born Huang Kun-yi, of Wujiang south of the Yangtzu River, was a Buddhist bureaucrat who wrote down his thoughts on Buddhism and proper behavior. Known as Yuan Liao Fan’s “Heavenly Inspirations“, or Liao Fan Si Shun (The Four Lessons of Liao Fan), these were passed down as an educational text for family education.
[* His year of birth and death were obtained by matching the years and times of the major life events he mentions in his writings and are thus historically accurate]
His writings were compiled in 1976, their first printing in booklet form was in 1993, and these booklets were distributed by the Ta Kioh Buddhist Temple.
The booklet contains eight chapters, the last being an addendum.
In Chapter One, Liao Fan talks about fate, predestination and predestinarianism. In Chapter Two, he talks about how one must follow that which comes from the heart to become the master of one’s own destiny and fate. He says that one must follow the sense of morality within one’s heart, not simply pursue fame and wealth anf selfish benefits. In Chapter Three he says that the key to personal fortune and misfortune is self understanding. Be sincere, not superficial. Be calm, not impetuous. Be humble, not proud. Be conscientious, not lazy. Be benevolent, not cruel. Be tolerant, not mean. Do good deeds as much as possible. In Chapter Four he says that a person who has no desires can find comfort in all situations. An open heart is like a mirror, it is like light, it is like nothingness. In Chapter Five, he describes his life and the major events in his life. In Chapter Six he talks about being humble and he notes three ways to repent. First, knowing one’s shame is courageous. Second, be respectful. Third, mistakes can be big or small, what is important is to change oneself for the better. Then he says: First, one can repent by changing one’s behavior and by treating things differently; Second, one can change one’s reasoning; and Third, one can change from the heart. Here he says that in order to repent, one must “treat and cure the heart”, “understand reason” and “prohibit oneself from making any mistakes”.
In talking about accumulating goodness of heart, he says: (1) Good fortune comes to those who accumulate goodness of heart. (2) Everyone has desires and thoughts of vengence. These must be eliminated from one’s heart. (3) Generosity and the love of life are the virtues given to us by Heaven. (4) Honesty, honor, sincerity will frighten the ghosts and the evil spirits. (5) Victims of a miscarriage of justice must be redressed. (6) Learn humility, humbleness, and respectfulness. (7) Do not boast about doing good deeds. Do not boast about and praise other people’s misdeeds. (8) False and evil intentions are often disguised as good intentions. (9) Learn to differentiate between what is correct and what is crooked. (10) Doing good deeds just to show off and quietly doing good deeds without being boastful are also different. (11) What is good and what is not good can only be seen in their effect and their influence. (12) What is correct goodness and what is incorrect goodness can only be seen in their results. (13) Half hearted goodness and whole hearted goodness depend on one’s intention. (14) Whether some deed is difficult or easy depends on one’s motive. (15) There are ten ways to practice goodness: (1) Treat people with goodness. (2) Be respectful and sympathetic from one’s heart towards others. (3) Make other people happy by helping others realize their wishes. (4) Always advise people to do good deeds. (5) Help others in need. (6) Build things that benefit the people. (7) Accumulate good fortune by not being greedy about money. (8) Support and protect justice. (9) Respect the elders. (10) Cherish life and material things.
On being virtuous, Liao Fan quotes the I Ching which says: “The Heavens will castigate and cause those who are boastful, self gratifying and self indulgent to lose, and the Heavens will help those who are humble.”
In the Q&A section of the booklet, it says: “Three inches above the head are the spirits. Ghosts and spirits are omniscient. The ethereal body exists from one inch to 12 inches around the human body. This ethereal body is the ‘light energy’ of the physical body. Beyond this ethereal body of light, there exists virtual spirits. They have no form, they have no image, they are omnipresent, and they are the spiritual body of the soul. The soul as a spiritual body inside and outside of the physical body, is omnipresent. Therefore, ghosts as well as spirits are the same. They can be so small that they do not have an interior, and they can be so big that there is nothing beyond them. Therefore, ghosts and spirist are omnipresent. It is precisely because ghosts and siprits are omnipresent that they are omniscient. Therefore, one’s thoughts, intentions, prayers are immediately known to all ghosts and spirits. One’s sincerity in worship guarantees the presence of the spirits and the gods. Gods and spirits are “virtual souls without form, without image, without substance and without body.”
This section does not provide an answer to the question: “If gods and spirits are virtual souls without form, without image and without body, then why do they appear in form, image, body in all the temples?” The answer is symbolism and representations of the devine.
And finally, the booklet ends with a dissertation on answering the question: Can good deeds dictate fate? By doing good deeds, one changes one’s life for the better. Good karma begets good karma.
The Buddhist Wheel
Buddhism first appeared in China, according to one note found in the first edition of the Chinese Encyclopedia Tzu Hai (1937, republished in 1956 with an updated Addendum), during the Han Dynasty circa the first year of the Christian Era. (1 A.D.)
However, Buddhism prospered as a popular Chinese religion in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.). The Buddhist kingdom of Western Xia existed from 1032 to 1227 A.D. Western Xia was not a Han Chinese dynasty, and the complex characters used by the Western Xia looked like Han Chinese characters but they were not Han Chinese characters. The Western Xia characters now exist only on a few tomb stones and Han Chinese scholars still cannot read nor pronounce Western Xia characters.
To the Han Chinese, the Buddhist Wheel is known as the Fa Lun, and reincarnation is known as Lun Hui. Fa is the Buddhist realm, Dharma, i.e., the Ultimate Law of all things and the correct personal and individual conduct in conformity to Dharma. Lun is the Wheel. Hui means circling. Lun Hui is reincarnation, Samsara, the repeated cycles of birth, suffering, death, and rebirth. Fa Jie also refers to the Buddhist realm and the realm of the Dharma. Jie means either a boundary, a world or a realm.
The Chinese character meaning an edge, yuan, is used by the Buddhists as a specific character to describe “fate” or “fated”, “predestined”, “meeting by Heavenly ties”, the concept of “the fate of two souls are tied to each other spiritually and their connected fate will be played out in their physical life.” The character yuan is phonetically the same as another character yuan, meaning a circle, circular, a whole. The Buddhists chose the character meaning “edge” because it consists of the radical indicating “silk” and a “chord”, a “thread” and a “ribbon” to convey the concept of “tying together” or predestination.
Buddhist explanations of the spokes of the Wheel are varied, depending on which sect of buddhism one studies. There is a Chinese Buddhist term called the “shir jie” which refers to the “ten realms” which monks refer to when they go on “yun you” or spiritual travels. The ten realms consist of ten levels of worlds, the topmost being Heaven and the lower realms being the nine levels of Hell.
The actual Chinese character for a spoke is “zou”. It is not found as an entry in the glossary Common Buddhist Terms*.
* [Common Buddhist Terms by Chen Yi-xiao, published by the Amitabha Buddhist Society of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, first printing October, 2002]
The Buddhist dictum for consuming meat
As we know, not all buddhist schools and Buddhist monks insist on strict vegetarianism. The Dalai Lama, Liao Fan and Master monk Guang Qin Shang Ren (January 26, 1892 – January 5, 1986) had all advised their followers that eating meat is allowed. In Buddhism, there is a dictum for consuming meat. The dictum is “wu jing rou” or “the five pure meats”: (1) meat that is not from an animal that one has personally seen killed; (2) meat that is not from an animal whose death cries were heard personally; (3) meat that is not from an animal killed specifically for personal consumption; (4) meat that is not from an animal that died on its own; (5) meat that is not from the remnants of an animal left over after being scavenged by birds of pray and by voltures.
There is no prohibition against eating meat sold in public markets. Vegetarianism is a personal choice, said Master monk Guang Qin Shang Ren, according to written records of his lectures, conversations, and advice to followers, worshippers and visitors included in his biography approved by the Guang Qin Monk Funeral Committee, February 28, 1986.
Here are three verses in praise of Guan Yin I composed to study the characteristics of Buddhist verses and the nonreversible nature of Buddhist verses. I originally wrote them in Chinese and I translated them into English.
In Praise of Guan Yin
Nammo Guan Shi Yin the Holy Spirit,
Guan Yin Buddha Protects tranquility of the heart,
The benevolent Spirit cures diseases and chases away the devils residing in our hearts,
The curing Light of Guan Shi Yin shines all around.
In Praise of the White Robed Guan Yin
Nammo white robed simple wish Guan Shi Yin,
Holy lotus and standing on the dragon, riding the clouds to protect and ensure safety and tranquility,
Holding meditation to quiet the heart, to guard against anger as my simple wish,
Nammo white robed simple wish Guan Shi Yin, the Holy spirit.
In Praise of the Green Light Guan Shi Yin
Nammo green light night shining Guan Shi Yin,
Droplets of dew and rainbow colors shine throughtout upon the hearts in tranquility,
The benevolent finger chases away pain and rectifies muscles in performing virtuous medical care,
Nammo volunteering charity as a way of life,
Praise in recitation to the green light night shining Guan Shi Yin, the Holy spirit.
INSPIRATIONAL WRITINGS OF THE WESTERN HEAVEN
Inspirational writings of the Western Heaven, xi fang qi xin lu, is a 124-page booklet compiled by Pure Action Buddhist disciple Sun Chuan-zhu in the Year of the Buddha 2525 (1981) based on the 1922 writings by a Mr. Zhou An-shi on reincarnation, the history of Chinese Buddhism, the four attempted annihilations of Buddhism in China by the “three Wu and one Tsung Emperors” (san wu yi zong mieh fuo), causality of suffers in Hell and reincarnation of good and bad karma.
The book was published on December 1, 1981, by the Wisdom Torch Publishing Agency, Taipei. A total of 3,000 copies were printed. The writings are in classical “wen yan wen” of ancient scholars.
Mr. Zhou An-shi began by asking: “When a person who lives a life doing evil deeds is not punished during his lifetime, and he dies, his life form dies and his spiritual energy dissipates, what about causality? Having lived such a criminal life, how will he be punished? The Yellow Emperor said that although the life energy dissipates, it does not disperse and dissolve. In physical form, it remains unchanged. but in the dissipated form, life energy undergoes endless changes. Confucius also said that concentrated energy becomes tangible objects. The roaming spirit (soul) changes, thus ghosts, spirits, deities, and human beings are differentiated. Concentration of spiritual energy forms after conception of life. Roaming spirits exist before conception and reincarnation into the womb. The classical Book of Zhong Yong says objects have an end and a beginning, but it does not say that objects have a beginning and an end. A beginningless and an endless cycle is not severence and demise. Concentrated energy becomes tangible objects, roaming spirits change.
Causality and reincarnation are recorded in orthodox history. Buddhism spread eastward into Han China during the 18-year reign of the emperor Han Ming Di (58 A.D. – 74 A.D.*) of latter Han. In the third year of his reign, the third year of Yong Ping** (61 A.D.), the emperor had a dream. In the dream, he saw a golden man of 1.6 meters tall with white light shining from the golden man’s beard flying up to the palace. The next day, the emperor asked his court officials what kind of a deity was it.
According to Notes on Extraordinary Events of the Book of Zhou, on the morning of April 8, the 24th*** year (1028 B.C.***) of King Zhao of the Zhou dynasty, the king was awakened by great winds and a big earthquake that shook the palace and people’s houses. During the night, lights of five colors permeated the atmosphere. At the far sides of the four corners of the sky was of a greenish-red color.
The king asked his court official Soo You what fortune do the multiple colors tell? Soo You answered: In the West a great saint is born. After a thousand years, a great religion shall arise from this land to the west.
The kind dispatched a delegation of 18**** men to visit this land to the west. The men arrived at the Kingdom of “da yue zhi” (Greater Registan***** in today’s southern Afghanistan) and they met two Indian Buddhists “jia yeh mo teng” (She Motang******) and “Zhu Falan” (Zhu Falan******). The delegation and the two Indian Buddhists carried an image of the Buddha on a fine felt cloth made by You Tian Wang******* and 42 sutras, and traveled eastward to Luoyang where the king ordered the building of a Buddhist temple. Thus the image of the Buddha stood outside the gate of the temple and Buddhism was established in China.********
*According to the classical Chinese Encyclopedia Tzu Hai: “The Year Xing Chou, First Year of A.D., First Year of Yuan Shih of the 5-year reign of Han Ping Di of the Han dynasty, Wang Mang appointed himself Tai fu, and bestowed on himself the title of An Han Gong, and at this time, buddhism was first introduced into China.”
**Another version of this story about the dream says that it was Emperor Ming of Eastern Han who reigned from 58 A.D. to 74 A.D. who had the dream and he consulted his minister Fuyi. Fuyi said: “On April 8, the 24th year of King Zhou*** (971 B.C.)***, the landscape rocked and rivers flooded. At night, splendid light beams of five colors flashed in the western sky.”
*** In the year 971 B.C., the king of Zhou was named Mu Wang, King Mu of Zhou. King Mu reigned for 55 years from 1001 B.C. to 952 B.C. Both the name of the king of Zhou and the year for the “24th year” of the king’s reign are incompatible. The correct name of the reigning king and the date for the 24th year of his reign would be King Zhao of the Zhou dynasty who reigned for 51 years (1052 B.C. – 1002 B.C.) and the “24th year of his reign would be the year 1028 B.C.
****In another version, the delegation consisted of 12 members. The delegation and the two Indian Buddhists She Motang and Zhu Falan arrived in Luoyang in the year 67 A.D., the 10th year of Yong Ping of the reign of Emperor Ming of the Zhou dynasty.
*****All the Chinese versions and English versions of this story state the name of the kingdom where the delegation met the two Indian Buddhists as “da yueh zhi”.
Scholars have been unable to determine where this kingdom is and where the name “da yueh zhi” referred to geographically. In my study of Chinese etymology and ancient place names, “da yueh zhi” or “da rou zhi” are names referring to Registan in present-day Afghanistan. In the year circa 56 B.C., there were two kingdoms in the area of present-day Registan in southern Afghanistan: They were called “da yue zhi” or “da rou zhi” and “xiao yue zhi” or “xiao rou zhi”, meaning “Big Registan” and “Small Registan”. Chinese historical records indicate that a Roman legion fought Chinese soldiers of the Han dynasty in “da yue zhi” or “Big Registan” and that both “da yue zhi” and “xiao yue zhi” were on the southern Silk Road that went through present-day southern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, northern India, to northern Iran, Persia and Rome.
******The names of the two Indian Buddhists are known as She Motang and Zhu Falan. The Chinese names are “Jia Ye Mo Teng” and “Zhu Falan”. “Zhu” is the Chinese character specifically meaning “India”. So the name “Zhu Falan” should actually be “Falan from India” or “Falan of India”. Also, the “F” and the “H” consonant sounds have been found to be of the same asperated sound in some dialects (Taiwanese dialect, which is the Fukienese dialect, has no “F” sound, and the “H” sound is used to produce the “whey” sound as an “F” sound). Therefore, “Falan of India” may very likely have been an adulteration or degeneration of the name “Ananda” as “Aland” or “Haland” or “Faland” or “^aland”. In the main hall of the Baima Si, white Horse Temple, in Luoyang, there are statues of Sakyamuni flanked by two disciples Jiaye and Ananda. These disciples may very likely be “She Motang” (Jia Ye Mo Teng) and “falan of India” (Faland or ^Aland or Ananda of India).
*******In another version of the story, the image of the Buddha and 42 chapters of the sutra were brought to Luoyang and were translated.
********According to this story, Buddhism was established in China when the first Buddhist temple, the Baima Si, White Horse Temple, was built for the two Indian Buddhists to translate the sutras beginning in the 10th year (67 A.D.) of Yong Ping of the Emperor of Ming of the Zhou dynasty. The chinese encyclopedia Tzu Hai states in its chronology that Buddhism was first introduced into China in the first year of the Christian Era, i.e., 1 A.D.
Four Emperors Who tried to annihilate Buddhism in China
Yin Guang Fa Shi once talked about the four kings who tried to annihilate Buddhism in China. They were Emperor Tai Wu of Northern Wei, Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou, Emperor wu of the Tang dynasty, and Emperor Shi Zong of Latter Zhou.
Emperor Tai Wu of Northern Wei issued an edict in the year 438 ordering all monks over 50 years old to abandon their religious life and return home as civilians so they could be drafted for military service because of the need for more soldiers. In the year 444, the emperor evicted all monks and nuns from the temples. In the year 446, the emperor took the advice of his minister Chui Hao, and ordered the burning of Buddhist scriptures, Buddhist statues and images. Buddhist temples were demolished, and monks and nuns were buried alive. Buddhist pagodas were destroyed. In the year 452, the emperor was assassinated by his eunuchs at the age of 44.
Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou conquered the Kingdom of Northern Qi at the age of 32 in the year 575. At age 34, he unified northern China, and ordered the destruction of Buddhist sutras, destroyed Buddhist statues, ordered monks to return home and forced 3 million monks and nuns to abandon Buddhism. In June, 576, the emperor led a northern campaign against the Tujue Turks at the age of 35 but died of a sudden illness.
Emperor Wu Zong of the Tang dynasty was a devout Taoist. In the year 845, he ordered the destruction of 40,000 Buddhist temples and 260,000 monks and nuns to abandon their religion and return to being civilians. In the capital, 70 nuns who now had no place to go since their temples had been destroyed, committed suicide. This was the Huichang campaign to destroy Buddhism in China (840-846). The emperor ascended the throne at the age of 26. He died of an illness at the age of 32.
Emperor Shi Zong of Latter Zhou ordered the destruction of Buddhist temples in May of the year 955. Some 30,360 temples were demolished, Buddhist statues were destroyed and nearly 1 million monks and nuns were forced to abandon their religion and return to civilian life.
Causality of sufferers in Hell
On page 15 of the book, the writer recorded some questions by suffering souls in Hell and answers given by a Master Mulian.
One ghost told Master Mulian: I have eyes on my shoulders, I have a mouth and a nose on my chest, but I do not have a head. What sins caused this suffering? The master answered: In your life you rejoiced at killing and hanging people, therefore you have no head as a ghost.
Another ghost told Master Mulian: My body is a piece of meat without any hands, feet, eyes, ears or nose. My body is always being bitten by bugs and pecked by birds. What sins caused this suffering? The master answered: In life, you used poison to perform abortions and miscarriages, therefore you are suffering for such sins.
Still another ghost told Master Mulian: My belly is big and I feel many pins in my throat, and I cannot eat nor drink. What sins caused this suffering? The master answered: In life, you were a glutton, and you robbed others of their means of livelihood, therefore you are suffering for these sins.
And another ghost told Master Mulian: I always carry two hot and burning wheels under my armpits, and I suffer from burns all over my body. What sins caused this suffering? The master answered: In life, you were a baker who made big round loaves of bread. Twice in your lifetime you stole two round loaves of bread by hiding them under your armpits, therefore you are suffering for these sins.
Still another ghost told Master Mulian: I often cover my head with things in fear of being killed by others and I am constantly in fear. What sins caused this suffering? The master answered: In your life, you were covetous of other people’s wives and possessions, and you were always in fear of being seen by others and being caught by the husbands of the adulterous wives you had relations with, therefore you are suffering for these sins.
A footnote on page 39 of the book notes that many people doubt causality because they have seen too many good people suffering misfortune while bad people live a good life, and many people have lost their goodness of heart. A monk by the name of Yong Ming Shou who wrote a Zong Jing Lu (Record of the Principal Mirror) said: In order to understand causality, one must look at three generations of reincarnations. One must not make any judgment based on one reincarnated life cycle. One who does not believe in causality is capable of doing anything without shame and when faced with misfortune and punishment, one has no remorse, no regret, and one does not repent. Therefore it is important to understand causality. Ancient folklore says that the Buddhist monk Yong Ming Shou was the reincarnation of Maitreya.