Seeing the "Universal Gates Chapter" in a Dream

Yutang Lin


Written on a wall in elegant calligraphy is the Sutra,
With "Universal Mind" and "Courageous Vigor" on either side.
In brilliant light there lays a white and clean bathtub
To provide cleansing as need be to wash away dirt!


This morning right before I woke up I saw in a dream a room full of brilliant light. On one wall it is written in Chinese calligraphy the title and partial text (and yet it is understood to signify the whole text) of the "Universal Gates Chapter" of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara; the calligraphy is elegant. On either side stood the terms "Universal Mind" and "Courageous Vigor." Below these writings, along the wall there lays a white and clean bathtub.

I figure that this scene indicates that, one should develop the great mind of universal equality, and imitate the thirty-two kinds of responses of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara with courageous vigor to engage in universal salvation of all beings. This is to be accomplished by washing away the dirt of prejudice and sorrows of various kinds of sentient beings in the bathtub full of the nectar of Buddha Dharma.

This poem was composed right afterwards to commemorate this teaching dream, and to remind myself not to become unworthy of such a graceful teaching.

Written in Chinese: April 23, 1998
Translated: August 10, 1999
El Cerrito, California

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