NOTE: The following is the practice followed at group cultivation sessions at various temples and Dharma Centers. One should read the complete text from True Stories About a Holy Monk. Those who have received initiation to do so may recite the appropriate mantras and perform the corresponding mudras and visualizations. The mantras MUST only be recited silently if there are others present who may not have received initiation. It is a violation of the precepts to teach or demonstrate to others sacred mantras, mudras, or visualization practices if one has not received the appropriate authorization to do so. This is very important. Even though there are many books published now on the secret teachings of Buddhism, if one is to receive any of the benefits and reach the goal of liberation, one must strictly abide by the rules. This means following a true master and proceeding step by step in the practice. See “Steps to Enlightenment.”
I prostrate to the Vajra Masters of the various esoteric sects.
I prostrate to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the ten directions.
I. Prayoga (Preliminary Practices)
1. Taking Refuge and Making Vows
The Buddhas and the correct dharma are the most exalted of all. I will take refuge in them until I reach enlightenment.
All of the merit from my cultivation is for the benefit of living beings and it is for their benefit that I vow to become a Buddha.
2. Contemplation of Impermanence
All conditional phenomena are like a dream, an illusion, a bubble, a shadow, morning dew or a flash of lightning.
All sentient beings will definitely die.
All inanimate things will definitely perish.
This principle also applies to my body, which is composed of the four great elements.
I will be separated from my family and friends one day.
Time is pushing my age forward, early youth is followed by the robust years of life, which is followed by old age, which is followed by death.
Sounds or flowing water never return after they are gone.
The thoughts and words of this very moment have already become impermanent.
I will come closer and closer to death.
Death has no set time to it.
I could go to the next world at any moment simply because my breathing stops.
I can take no worldly possessions whatsoever with me to the next world.
These principles apply to my very own body.
I am intent upon leaving the cycle of reincarnation!
3. The Three Groups of Purifying Precepts
I vow to cut off all evil within me. There will be no evil that I will not cut off
I vow to practice all types of goodness. There will be no type of goodness that I will not practice.
I vow to save all living beings. There will be no living being that I will not save.
4. The Ten Good Characteristics
1. I will not kill. Rather, I will save lives by freeing captive animals and people.
2. I will not steal. Rather, I will perform charity.
3. I will not engage in sexual misconduct. Rather, I will practice chastity.
4. I will not lie. Rather, I will speak the truth.
5. I will not use filthy or inappropriate language. Rather, I will speak upright words.
6. I will not speak in ways that cause division among people. Rather, I will speak words that bring about peace and accord among people.
7. I will not use coarse or harsh language. Rather, I will speak gentle words.
8. I will not be lustful or greedy. Rather, I will practice the meditation on the repulsiveness of the body (asubha).
9. I will not be angry. Rather, I will practice the meditation on loving-kindness and compassion.
10. I will not be ignorant. Rather, I will practice the meditation on the twelve links that constitute the chain of conditioned arising.
5. The Four Limitless States of Mind: (four times)
May all living beings forever be peaceful and happy and may they forever maintain the causes of peace and happiness.
May all living beings forever be free from suffering and from the causes of suffering.
May all living beings be happy and free from suffering and may my own heart be sympathetically joyful over their happiness and freedom from suffering.
May all living beings stay far away from greed and anger and may they abide in equanimity.
6. The Six Paramitas
I will be generous or charitable in order to overcome stinginess and greed.
I will be virtuous and abide by the precepts in order to overcome violations and offenses.
I will be patient and endure insults in order to overcome anger.
I will be energetic in order to overcome laziness.
I will be concentrated in order to overcome scatter-mindedness.
7. Reflection: (Review how well you have observed these principles. You should review and examine yourself every day to see if your three karmas [actions of body, speech, and mind] accord with the teachings of the Buddhas and the Master. Anything that violates such teachings should be immediately corrected. At this point, you should quietly look within.)
II. Main Practice
1. Taking Refuge: (four times)
I shall take refuge in the Buddha, the correct dharma and the Sangha all the way up to the time I attain enlightenment.
I shall use all of the merit accumulated from my cultivation to become a Buddha so as to save all living beings.
Refuge Vows: (Those who have taken refuge should silently recite refuge vows four times)
2. Adoration of Kuan Yin: (seven times)
I now worship Kuan Sher Yin, the Holy One who is completely without any defect.
Her precious body is spotlessly white, pure and flawless.
Over Her head is Amitabha Buddha.
She looks upon living beings with eyes of compassion.
Living beings are liberated through Her mighty compassion.
(After wholeheartedly reciting the above, the Holy one’s precious body emits brilliant light. All illusory thinking and filthy karma are removed. The circumstances of all living beings become like that of the Western Paradise. The three karmas of conduct, speech and thought of living beings become like the conduct, speech and thought of the Bodhisattvas. Forms, sounds and mental objects all become empty so that everything is simply undifferentiated.)
3. Reciting Mantras: Namo Kuan Sher Yin Pu Sa
(Chant as long as possible. You may use a rosary and chant 108 or more times.)
4. Silent Meditation: (When you complete the recitation of the mantras, all images will immediately disappear into emptiness and you enter into silent meditation. At this time you have attained the wisdom that Kuan Yin attained after She reached the darshana-marga or The Path of Seeing. You can thus understand the relativity of all things in the world. At this time, you should immerse your mind in its natural state; that is its enlightened nature. The relationship of things being in opposition to or antagonistic to other things, which is created by the mind, all vanish without any residue. Look within to see that when performing charity, there is no giver, no receiver, and no gift. The giver, the receiver and the gift have no more independent meaning. There is nothing to which you are attached. Even this pure, clear and blissful state should not be clung to. You are immersed in your own nature. This nature is primordial truth. The longer you can stay in this self-liberating state the better since this is the most important part of this Dharma practice.)
5. Ending Practice: (You will regard everything as a Kuan Yin experiential state. You will regard all living beings and all forms as the body of Kuan Yin. You will regard all sounds as the six-syllable Heart Mantra. You will regard all thoughts as the compassionate wisdom of Kuan Yin and as revelations you experienced during your practice of the Dharma. You have a new, profound, holy and pure view of reality. You only see the most bright side of all things.)
(You must integrate into your daily life as much as possible the insights you experienced during your meditation. That is, you must avoid thoughts of anything being in opposition or antagonistic to any other thing and thoughts of greed, desire or attachment to any external object. You should cultivate a mind of compassion. You should be kind to all living beings and give them a helping hand. At the same time, you must always remember that all phenomena are empty and illusory.)
My form and other forms are all the holy body of Kuan Yin.
All sounds are the sounds of the six syllable Heart Mantra.
All thoughts are the compassionate wisdom of Kuan Yin.
6. Dedicating Merit: (Here you state your intent at the end. No matter what form of Buddhism you practice, according to the Dharma and tradition, when you are finished with your practice, you must speak certain words which express the desire to share with all living beings all of the merit you have obtained from that particular practice session. Just like in the beginning of the practice session, you will reiterate your original intention. That is, you are practicing and learning the Buddha dharma for the happiness and benefit of all living beings rather than for your own selfish benefit. You vow that you will definitely become a bodhisattva like Kuan Yin in order to save all other living beings and cause each of them to give rise to the state of mind of a liberated one.)
May the merit accumulated from this practice cause my merit to quickly become like that of Kuan Sher Yin.
May I save all living beings everywhere and may we all reach the other shore of liberation without leaving anyone behind.
May all living beings in this lifetime achieve the perfection of the Vajra Group and may we all attain the same level as Kuan Sher Yin.
(Do four complete prostrations)
(This is the open version of this practice that is suitable for everyone, including beginners. Those who want to receive the full benefits from this practice must take refuge with a qualified Vajra Master and request initiation into the secret aspects of this Dharma.)