Deepest gratitude to the Greatly Merciful, Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva
Deepest gratitude to all Dharma Protectors
Deepest gratitude to Master Jun Hong Lu
Deepest gratitude to all present here today.
My name is Shen Yao Ming.
On 18 Feb 2017, my wife and I were very fortunate to make it to the phenomenal Ling Shan Dharma Convention in the Singapore National Stadium.
Attending the Dharma Convention was not my plan. My intention was to send my wife to the venue, take a look and decide later whether to stay on or leave depending on whether it could pique my interest. Upon our arrival, we were shocked to see a sea of people in red and they were holding a red little booklet, while performing recitation with a counter on their hands.
After getting our tickets, we made our way to the stadium, we saw even more ‘bizarre’scenes. Many people were holding up photographs and waving them in the air. I asked my wife: “What’s this all about?”, but she was as clueless as I was. There and then, I decided to stay on to find out more.
At this moment, Master Lu walked in. All the attendees stood up and waved at Master Lu, who responded by waving back. Out of respect and courtesy, I also waved at Master Lu. I took a cursory glance at my wife and saw her eyes turning red and watery. I asked myself again “What’s this all about?”.
Next, Master Lu began to deliver his Buddhism discourses. He made the profound Buddhism teachings sound so simple, enabling even someone like me to understand. My first impression was he was such an energetic and humorous person. This trait resonated with me as I think I have a great sense of humour and I can be funny too! Because of this resemblance, I was completely attracted to Master Lu and his teachings. I was engrossed in his talk oblivious to the presence of my boisterous child!
After the Dharma convention, I was sold. I decided to support my wife in practising this Dharma Door. My wife started reciting that very night! I, on the other hand, did not wish to start reciting, maybe because some degree of skepticism still lingered on and most importantly, I was lazy. I was grateful to my wife who performed daily recitation on my behalf. She was so dedicated to her recitation that even though blisters developed in her mouth, she pressed on. She managed to solve many of her health issues, including her neck pain. She suffered from regular neck pain, and had a thick hump on her neck. After offering more than 10 Little Houses, the hump flattened and she was free from the pain. Incredible!
My wife’s health continued to improve. She regained her vitality. She used to wear slippers at home as she could not take the cold marble floor that caused her feet to pain. As of now, she can’t even remember where her slippers are as she doesn’t need them anymore! Unbelievable to say the least! Encouraged by her improvements, I started to perform recitation.
When I first started reciting the Great Compassion Mantra, you cannot imagine how difficult it was for me. Every time I recited, I would become very sleepy, almost knocked-out. Each time, upon completion of my recitation, I would immediately lie flat on the floor, only to doze off for 20 to 30 minutes.
I was even too tired to walk to my bed. When I woke up, I would take a smoke and brush my teeth before continuing my recitation. It soon became a routine for me to: recite > sleep > smoke > brush teeth > continue to recite. Two weeks later, my recitation became smoother. I felt a sense of peace in me, and warm energy started flowing in my head. It was indeed a very comfortable sensation.
A few days later, my wife told me that she wanted to practise full vegetarianism. I looked at her in disbelief, knowing full well that she simply loved spare ribs and spring onion to be a full vegetarian! I challenged her by saying if she could really become full vegetarian, I would quit smoking. We then started to practise vegetarianism for one full month with great success!
A month later, sometime in March 2017, she told me that she wanted to go to the Guan Yin Hall to make a vow to practise full vegetarianism. I accompanied her there that day. At that time, I quietly made a pledge to Guan Yin Bodhisattva that I would quit smoking by end–May 2017.
I had been smoking for more than 10 years. I smoked 1 ~ 2 packs of cigarettes each day. Naturally, to quit smoking would be a great challenge. During the quitting process, I reduced the number of sticks per day. For a start I limited myself to one pack every 2 ~ 3 days, then one pack for one week and the interval got longer over time. The process was arduous. Whenever the urge to smoke hit me, a sense of anxiety and emptiness would wash over me. I would lose my focus and end up unable to do anything at all! Whenever I saw someone smoking, I would go over for just one or two puffs of their second-hand smoke.
It then dawned on me of an ingenious method to curb the urge and that was by reading Master Lu’s book “Buddhism In Plain Terms”. Reading it helped me forget about the urge to smoke. I also sought the protection and blessings from Bodhisattva to allow me to quit this habit once and for all. During this period of time, I frequently smelled the scent of sandalwood lingering around me. My wife told me that it was a sign that Bodhisattva was around to bless me. I successfully quitted smoking by end–April, one month ahead of a self-imposed deadline.
Besides smoking, I also used to drink. My wife told me that Buddhist cultivators should steer clear of intoxicants. After a period of Buddhism practice, I lost the urge to drink. It must have been the blessings from Bodhisattva that had made it possible. At a later stage, I came to know that my wife had been working behind the scenes by reciting the Heart Sutra for me, for which she prayed to Bodhisattva to help me overcome my addiction to alcohol and smoking.
Come to think of it, I’ve saved a lot of money! I no longer need to spend money on cigarettes, alcohol or extra toothpaste. When I was a smoker, I brushed my teeth every time before I performed recitation, which means I needed to do it multiple times a day. After practising full vegetarianism and quitting smoking and drinking, I have a totally different experience when I perform recitation. I can feel that the level of energy from my recitation has increased manifold.
I would like to conclude by telling Buddhist friends here today who are still addicted to smoking or drinking, as long as you are determined to make a vow to Bodhisattva, you will definitely receive the blessings to allow you to quit successfully.
Should my sharing today is improper in anyway, I would like to seek the forgiveness of Guan Yin Bodhisattva and all Dharma Protectors.
Thank you, everyone.