Book 129 Entering the Most Hidden Yin-Yang Realm : The Rich God and the Poor Ghost
by H.H.Living Buddha Lian-sheng, Sheng-Yen Lu
(continued from issue #1498)
Alarmed, the rich man asked, “Where are you taking me?”
The gods replied, “Our Secret Master has invited you to go to a banquet!”
”Who is this Secret Master?”
”In time you’ll know!”
The convoy of carriages soared into the sky like shadows of clouds. Inside the carriage, it was wide, soft, and comfortable. As the rich man looked down from the carriage, he saw that Yu Shan (Jade Mountain) was one of the highest. Verdant mountain ranges overlapped each other in complementary shades of dark and light. It was beautiful.
As for the celestial beings accompanying him alongside the carriages, some of them flew through the air, some trod upon the clouds and rode on mist, while others traveled on lotus flowers.
Some revealed half their form.
Some revealed their entire form.
Some were bright and translucent like iridescent rainbow light.
When the rich man saw this, he sighed that it was a sight never before beheld.
Before long, they arrived at a place which was scenic beyond words. It was infinitely majestic; the horizon was incredibly clear and vivid; palaces and pavilions rose up from adjoining clouds; such did not exist on earth. The precious trees in the gardens, the rare wonders of flowers and fruits; these were in such abundance that they were uncountable. The atmosphere there was pure and tranquil, wonderful and fragrant. It was beyond expression.
More than that, here were innumerable bodhisattvas; everyone was joyfully irradiating resplendent light upon the rich man. The rich man placed his palms together in reverence, while the bodies of the bodhisattvas emitted an inconceivably exquisite aura of fragrance and light.
”What is this place?” the rich man asked, amazed.
A celestial being immediately moved forward to explain, “This is no longer samsara. It is not a place mere mortals can travel to. This is a pure land of the buddhas; it is the pure land of the Maha Twin Lotus Ponds where the Secret Master has obtained validation through cultivation.”
”So who exactly is the Secret Master here?”
The celestial being praised:
Untarnished by the dust of samsara, he keeps his physical body pure,
He wears the five Buddha crown of perfection on his head,
Possessing both ample compassion and wisdom,
He is an embodiment of equality and the great perfection that we salute.
The celestial being said, “In a moment, you will know it yourself.”
The celestial being told the rich man, “Here in this most sacred of places, in this golden palace, the revered and great, accomplished Holder of Wisdom sits upon the dazzling jeweled lotus throne. Here, trillions of superb gems and treasures abound; fairies with ten thousand kinds of sublimely graceful gestures; limitless sweet sounding celestial music; flowers that never wither; magnificent wish-fulfilling trees that reach up into the sky; fine sands of gold dust; pure waters of merit and virtue; infinite precious adornments; the great ocean of wisdom; wondrous mirrors that illuminate all phenomena; the elixir of immortality…”
The rich man felt utterly small and insignificant; he felt that what he possessed in the human world was unbearably vulgar.
When the Secret Master appeared in the huge golden palace, it was as though his dignified and serene personage radiated ten thousand beams of brilliant light, incandescent like the shining sun, causing all the heavenly gods to be cast into shade, and even the Goddess of Light felt abashed. Sixty kinds of celestial music sounded from every direction, while the sweet scent of compassionate esoteric meaning filled the entire dharma realm.
The precious wish-fulfilling banner was raised up high,
Encircling crystal lights of auspiciousness shone brightly,
Ten million celestial beings gazed up at the high throne,
Where the Secret Master with a thousand wisdom eyes was seated,
This sumptuous banquet was a secret gathering of immortals,
Here was White Mahapadmakumara who blesses and protects samsara.
The rich man took one look and was horrified. To his shock, the Secret Master was none other than Sheng-Yen Lu.
In the great hall of the golden palace, this feast was filled with ten thousand golden beams of light, radiant with flowing and changing rainbow colors. Thousands of auspicious energies gathered to form a purple mist. Everything was made of lapis lazuli. Everything was dazzlingly bright. All the chairs and tables were made from precious jade, and in the great hall were several golden pillars entwined with green dragons whose golden scales outshone the sun. The banquet tables were decorated with flowers that would not wither for a thousand years, and furnished with tapestries that would remain vibrant and vivid for ten thousands years; each and every stitch was made from gold. All around were agate vases planted with valuable coral trees.
The rich man was inwardly frightened. This hall alone had displayed more wealth than all of the rich men in the world. And there were countless other palace houses along the way, such as the Palace House of Emerald Clouds, the Palace House of Vairocana, the Palace House of Brilliant Light, the Palace House of Great Bliss, the Palace House of Vibrant Blossoms. In addition, there were also the Palace Hall of Rising Towards Emptiness, the Palace Hall of Precious Jade, the Palace Hall of Jewels, the Palace Hall of Towards the Sun, the Palace Hall of Ultimate, the Palace Hall of Red Flames… There were so many palaces that it was impossible to view them all.
The rich man was not only frightened; he was really at a loss to know what to do.
The attendants at the feast were various celestial maidens, wearing red garments, blue garments, white garments, black garments, purple garments, yellow garments, green garments and so on.
These celestial maidens were indeed:
Youthful beauties adorned with emeralds and jade,
Faces abloom with a rosy blush,
Their eyes sparkled with the light of stars,
Their graceful brows elegant and refined.
The attendants alone were already so wonderful, more so were the bodhisattvas and golden immortals who attended the feast; everyone shined brightly and reflected brilliant light.
All the dishes served in the banquet could not be found anywhere in samsara. They were rare delicacies of a hundred flavors, gourmet cuisines of the most exceptional kind, such that even dragon’s liver, phoenix marrow, bear’s paw and orangutan’s lip could not compare.
Among these were divine peaches, each one young and tender, bright, luscious, and shining. They gathered in rosy clusters, like rouged flesh with frosted and smoky, delicate skin colored with a tinge of green, their exquisite beauty revealed by the reflections of light.
Just one incomparably delicious bite of this divine peach filled one with refreshing sweetness, and could lengthen one’s life span.
The rich man was invited to sit next to the seat of the Secret Master. He dared not raise his head.
”Did you enjoy this feast?” the Secret Master asked.
”Are you really Sheng-Yen Lu?” the rich man evaded the question.
”Ah, me!” I said, “I am the chief of all buddhas, the embodiment of perfection and venerated triumph, the Dharma king of the three realms, the Great Blessing Vajra, the banner of Buddhadharma. My feet, possessing infinite blessings and merit, tread upon the brilliant golden wheel. I am the bright light of peace and happiness in the world, the source of teachings to realize peace and happiness.”
”Are you Sheng-Yen Lu or not?”
”Living Buddha Lian-sheng, the Great Blessing Vajra,” I said.
”Why is it that you are so rich?”
”Contentment is wealth.”
”What is poverty?”
”The reverse is poverty.”
The rich man nodded, and it seemed that he understood a little.
He asked me, “Presently, why are you in samsara to receive such suffering?”
Amidst the crowd during an assembly of all buddhas,
I have pledged up to a hundred times my vow,
To deliver suffering sentient beings with compassion,
Now how can I shift this responsibility onto others?”
The rich man nodded again.
When the rich man awoke from his dream, he hurriedly came to see me.
The moment he saw me, he said, “I…”
”There is no need to say it, I know.”
”Thank you for inviting me.” He was deeply appreciative.
”You are welcome.”
”That was the home of the Great Blessing Vajra indeed!” He was very envious.
”No, this is my home.” I pointed at the wooden cabin of the small illegal house.
”Yes, I know, to be content,” the rich man said.
Ha, ha! I laughed.