Fazhao's Vision

Fazhao's Vision

Postby Will » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:35 pm

From Thinking of Amitabha Buddha, tr by Rulu, pp 205-6

In the summer of 769, in a Dharma assembly at the nearby Hudong Temple,
Fazhao led a group practice of chanting Amitabha Buddha’s name in
five parts. Their sincere calls were answered by the appearance of colorful clouds
all over the sky. In the clouds stood towers, temples, and the Three Holy Ones—
Amitabha Buddha, flanked by Bodhisattvas Avalokitesvara and
Mahasthamaprapta. The people of Hengyang all witnessed this display, which
lasted for a long time. They all burned incense and made obeisance.
That evening, Fazhao came across an old man, who said to him, “You made a
wish to visit the golden world on Wutaishan, to make obeisance to Mañjusri
Bodhisattva. Why do you linger here?”
Fazhao answered, “The times are hard and the journey is rough.”
The old man said, “If one has strong aspiration, what difficulty can there be?”
Then the old man disappeared.

On the thirteenth day of the eighth month of 769, Fazhao, together with a
team of fellow monks, set off on a pilgrimage to the Wutai Mountain. On the
sixth day of the fourth month of 770, they safely arrived at the Foguang (Buddha
light) Temple in Wutai County.
Before dawn, Fazhao saw a beam of white light shining on him. He followed
it for fifty lis, and arrived at a mountain, under which was a steam. On the north
bank of this stream was a stone gate, at which stood two youths. They introduced
themselves as Sudhana and Nanda. Escorted by them, Fazhao went inside the
gate and walked five lis to a temple which bore a sign that read “Zhulin Temple
of the Great Holy.” The ground there was gold and adorned with jeweled flowers
and trees, just as he had seen in his vision.
Fazhao entered the auditorium of the temple and found Bodhisattvas
Mañjusri and Samantabhadra, each seated on a jeweled lion throne and
surrounded by a multitude of Bodhisattvas. Fazhao approached them, made
obeisance, and said, “Ordinary beings in this Dharma-ending age have low
capacities and severe hindrances. They are unable to uncover their Buddha
nature. Which Dharma Door can easily lead them to the essence of the vast
Buddha Dharma?”
Mañjusri Bodhisattva replied, “Your question is opportune. In this Dharmaending
age, no Dharma Door can better fulfill one’s wisdom and merit than the
double Dharma Door of thinking of Buddhas and making offerings to the Three
Jewels. In past kalpas, through thinking of Buddhas and making offerings to the
Three Jewels, I acquired [sarvajña-jñana] the knowledge of all knowledge. All
good dharmas, such as paramita and profound dhyana, are born from thinking of
Buddhas, which is the king of dharmas.”

Fazhao asked, “How does one think of Buddhas?”
Mañjusri Bodhisattva replied, “West of here is a world in which resides
Amitabha Buddha. The power of His vows is inconceivable. You should think of
Him without interruption. After death, you will definitely be reborn in His land,
standing on the Ground of No Regress.”
Bodhisattvas Mañjusri and Samantabhadra both extended their golden arms
and rubbed the crown of Fazhao’s head. They said, “Because you think of
Buddhas, you will soon attain anuttara-samyak-sambodhi. If good men and good
women single-mindedly think of Buddhas, they too will quickly attain anuttarasamyak-
sambodhi.”
Exultantly and exuberantly Fazhao made obeisance to them. He left the
auditorium, and the two youths escorted him outside the temple. No sooner did
he raise his head than the temple vanished. Fazhao then made a pile of stones to
mark the site.

On the eighth day of that month, Fazhao and his group went to the Huayan
Temple and settled down. On the thirteenth day, he and fifty or so
fellow monks went to the Vajra Cave of the Wutai Mountain. They reverently
chanted thirty-five Buddhas’ names, making obeisance to each name. After only
ten prostrations, Fazhao saw the cave turn into a vast clean place where stood a
palace made of pure aquamarine. Present inside were holy Bodhisattvas,
including Mañjusri and Samantabhadra.
Hoping to see Mañjusri Bodhisattva once again, Fazhao later returned to the
cave alone. He prostrated himself on the ground and prayed. Suddenly he saw an
Indian monk who called himself Buddhapala.
Buddhapla led him to a sparkling jeweled temple with a sign above its door, the
golden words on which read “Vajra Prajña Temple.” In the temple compound
stood hundreds of majestic towers and mansions, and Mañjusri the Great Holy
was surrounded by the multitudes. Fazhao wanted to stay there, but Buddhapala
did not permit him. He led Fazhao outside and said, “Train assiduously. When
you return, you may stay.”

In the twelfth month of that year, Fazhao began a meditation retreat at the
Huayan Temple. He fasted and vowed to be reborn in the Pure Land. On the
evening of the seventh day, an Indian monk entered the hall and asked him,
“Why do you not tell people what you have experienced here on Wutaishan?”
Then the Indian monk vanished.
Next day, in the afternoon, Fazhao saw another Indian monk, about eighty
years of age, who sternly said to him, “If you share with sentient beings your
extraordinary experiences on Wutaishan, they will be inspired to activate the
bodhi mind. Why do you not do it?”
Fazhao replied, “I do not dare to conceal the holy Way. However, I fear that
people might doubt my words and slander me.”
The old monk said, “Even Mañjusri the Great Holy, who resides on this
mountain, cannot avoid slanders. It is more important to induce sentient beings
to activate the bodhi mind than to save yourself.”
After his retreat ended, Fazhao wrote down his experiences, and circulated
his stories for the world to know.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Fazhao's Vision

Postby Huifeng » Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:46 am

And here they are to this day!

:namaste:

~~ Huifeng
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Re: Fazhao's Vision

Postby Nosta » Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:09 pm

Its a very interesting story :) Thanks for sharing it.

Do you think that this is just that, a story/legend or could it be real?
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Re: Fazhao's Vision

Postby Will » Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:26 pm

Nosta wrote:Its a very interesting story :) Thanks for sharing it.

Do you think that this is just that, a story/legend or could it be real?


It really happened to Fazhao and his reluctance to share his experiences (see last paragraph) makes it plain.

There are other examples of visits to hidden sacred realms or places in the history of Buddhism, not to mention other traditions.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Fazhao's Vision

Postby Nosta » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:55 pm

Thats amazing :)
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Re: Fazhao's Vision

Postby Will » Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:59 pm

Just re-reading this experience of Fazhao - so I bump this thread up to the finer realms.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Fazhao's Vision

Postby Nosta » Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:20 pm

Beautiful story, worth re-reading :)
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