Many educated Buddhist are doubtful that enlightenment can be achieved by simple chanting.
To prove that it is possible, we just need to look at the spiritual life of a contemporary monk, Guang Qin.
To me, he definitely qualifies as Sangha in refuge prayer.
GuangQin was illiterate and from a poor family in China. His dharma teacher taught him to chant Namo Amitabha Buddha because he couldn’t read the holy scriptures.
There are many inspiring stories related to him.
Master GuanQin liberated spirits haunting a Buddhist dojo.
This happened shortly after master Guangqin “descend from the mountain” (completed his retreat in the wilderness) At that time, nobody knew him and as he was wandering the streets one day, a Mr.Wang approached him and asked where he was going.
“No fixed place” replied Master Guangqin.
“In that case, I hope to invite you to our Buddhist Dojo.” Said Mr. Wang.
Mr.Wang was a Buddhist teacher at the Buddhist Dojo. That place was haunted and nobody dared to stay the night there. Doors would open and close on their own. Lights would go on and off. It was extremely creepy after nightfall.
According to Mr. Wang, when he first chanced upon Master Guangqin, His piercing gaze that was full of compassion attracted him. Walking about the streets in spritely steps, as though there wasn’t a single worry in the world.
When master Guangqin reached the temple, he pay homage to the Buddha at the altar. Then he sat on the floor in meditation posture.
As the night was approaching fast, dojo volunteers were anxious to leave. They inquired what Master Guangqin would like for dinner.
“I only eat fruits” replied Master Guangqin. (To be explained in another post)
They bought a bunch of banana and placed it on a table beside him and took leave.
The next morning, dojo volunteers were expecting Master Guangqin to have fled during the night.
Upon opening the door, they found him still sitting in the same place, in the same posture.
“There are two Japanese ghost in that side-room, remove the flooring and retrieve the 2 skeletons. I will help to liberate them.” Instructed master Guangqin.
That was totally unexpected and left the volunteers flabbergasted. They had intentionally hidden the truth from master Guangqin. No one mentioned about the haunting to Him.
Construction crew was engaged to strip off the floor covering on the same day and by afternoon, two human skeletal remains in Japanese uniform were uncovered underneath.
Master Guangqin instructed them to cremate the skeleton while he recited mantra over them.
He did not leave but stayed for another night. The following morning, he instructed them to retrieve another set of skeleton from another room. After that he declared the dojo to be free from ghost.
Later people opined that the skeletal remains might have belonged to Japanese soldiers who were murdered by secret task force during the Japanese occupation. How the skeleton ended up concealed beneath the property flooring remained a mystery.
Master Guangqin defeat a debate by preventing it.
This story was narrated by a monk in Taiwan. At that time master Guangqin had settled in Taiwan. As he encouraged people to simply chant Amitabha Buddha, some scholastic Buddhist were bitterly opposing it.
The narrator was a university student at that time and was a member of the university Buddhist society.
Having heard about this saintly monk, the youngsters decided to pay him a visit. Amongst the students was a scholastic Buddhist. He felt that Master Guangqin was spreading superstition. ‘How can one understand Dharma if they do not study and read dharma books?’
So he prepared a series of philosophical questions with various views and arguments, meant to embarrass the holy monk.
When the youths met master Guangqin, they bowed down as customary and introduced themselves. Once they settled down, master Guangqin singled that scholastic Buddhist student out of the entire group of youths.
“You have good karma, but do not say anything for now. If you do, you will have extreme bad karma. I shall answer all your questions! ”
Master Guangqin then gave a sermon that covered all the philosophical topic that was prepared for him by that student. All the views and contradictory arguments were explained.
The guy who was out to embarrass the monk, found himself trembling with fear and respect. The the holy monk had explained everything that he had prepared!
After the sermon, he knelt down, confessed his evil intention and asked master Guangqin for forgiveness.
“No harm, do not worry. Remember to chant Amitabha’s name.” Master Guangqin smiled with compassion.
According to the narrator, that was an amazing encounter he witnessed as a student. Not only did master Guangqin demonstrated clairvoyance, he was able to explain the profound Buddhist philosophy with such clarity and simplicity. Topics that normally required years to study and master.
Hope you are inspired by the life of master Guangqin too. I’ll introduce more of Him in my next post.
May all be well and happy.