Paper Ship

Yutang Lin

Burning holy mantra sheets in order to repay kindness of friendship,
Repeating Rebirth in Pureland Mantra to help returning to the west,
In dream aboard a large ship that suddenly turned into paper-made,
It could not set sail, the mantra not having been transmitted by Guru.


Near end of July while in Taipei, Taiwan I received a phone call from Upasaka Min in San Francisco. He said that the day before he had burned the "Namo Amitabha Buddha" mantra sheets and other mantra sheets while repeating the Rebirth in Pureland Mantra so as to help two young friends who recently passed away in separate car accidents. That night in a dream he saw himself and many people aboard a large ship, and the front, middle and rear section of the ship had poles hanging Chinese couplets. All of a sudden the ship turned into paper-made, and a heavenly voice said, "This mantra had not been transmitted by the Guru, and hence the ship could not set sail." He had accumulated repetition of the mantra for several hundred thousand times; now through this experience he realized that in order to have enough blessing power to help deceased to gain rebirth in Pureland the mantra needs to be transmitted by the Guru to carry the blessing of the lineage. So I promised him that I would transmit the mantra in person to him when I return to US, and that I would include his friends in my Powa service. That was a teaching dream. His sincerity in wanting to help his friends gain rebirth in Pureland had inspired Buddha's blessing in giving him such teachings so that his Bodhi wish may truly realize.

At about the same period I gave refuge to Upasaka Cai in Taipei, and transmitted the mantra of Padmasambhava to him. A disciple besides us mentioned that Cai had already accumulated repetition of this mantra for over several hundred thousand times. Fortunately, Cai still humbly received this transmission. A few days later Cai came to the airport to see me off. Then he said that although he had practiced Tantric teachings for more than a decade he had always felt that he could not touch the real thing, and his visualization was never clear. Nevertheless, right after he took refuge and received the transmission of the mantra from me, all of a sudden everything became clear and his visualization became vivid. This demonstrated that the blessing from authentic lineage is not on a par with ordinary practices.

Mantras are Tantric teachings, and as such they should be transmitted by Gurus and their pronunciation should based on oral presentation of the Guru. Only then can mantras carry the spiritual powers. As to mantra texts and pronunciations that are formulated based on scholastic researches, in terms of experiences of practitioners they lack obvious and immediate effects.

Written in Chinese on August 28, 2004
Translated on August 31, 2004
El Cerrito, California

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