Responding upon Supplication

Yutang Lin

Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would respond automatically to sentient beings' supplications; is it true?

Some people said, "If what I prayed for would realize, then I will believe in Buddhas." This is not supplication to Buddhas but bargaining for results. This kind of people do not understand that they themselves are ordinary beings bound by karmic hindrances, and that as such they need to beseech help with humble attitude so as to become suitable for receiving blessings. They seem to assume that Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are on the same level with them, or even need to try to win over their faith. This kind of mistaken recognition at the level of fundamental attitude prevented them from really seeking help from Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Some people even though temporarily appeared to be humble in beseeching help from Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and yet as soon as the result prayed for turned out to be less than their expectation they would immediately declare with self-righteousness that their supplication to Buddhas did not work. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas grant blessings to sentient beings and patiently guide them step by step so that sentient beings would gradually advance on the Dharma path and eventually attain right and full enlightenment. Furthermore, the result of such help and guidance is also affected by the degree of karmic hindrance of the sentient beings helped, and also determined by the degree of efforts made by the sentient beings in approaching the Dharma and having faith in Buddhas. Therefore, what we prayed for may not soon realize to our expectations. However, in sphere beyond our ordinary perception Buddhas' power had indeed helped turn the results to move in the direction of approaching enlightenment and becoming more favorable for Dharma practices.

"Responding upon supplication," means that, if sentient beings could ardently supplicate to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for blessing, then Buddhas and Bodhisattvas out of their great compassion and mercy that left none out would certainly respond, instead of just ignoring the supplications. Nevertheless, in case the supplication of sentient beings is born of selfishness and ignorance, and right then no guidance or persuasion would be feasible, then Buddhas and Bodhisattvas might temporarily refrain from responding, while waiting patiently for suitable juncture and situation to awaken those sentient beings. Thus, even when they seemed to ignore the supplications and leave sentient beings to feel lost in bewilderment; that is a response born of boundless compassion.


The green jade necklace offered today onto mandala plate has a rectangular pendant. The front of the pendant is a carved image of Guan Yin; on its back is the Chinese phrase of four characters: You Qiu Bi Ying (responding upon supplication). Upon seeing this phrase thoughts arose, and hence I wrote this article.

Written in Chinese on February 14, 2004
Translated on February 16, 2004
El Cerrito, California

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