During the chanting class held at Vancouver Bodhi Meditation Center, Grandmaster JinBodhi used accessible language to share profound theories on how chanting for our loved ones is a powerful way of changing our current fate. Chanting helps to cultivate miraculous wisdom and energy, and sincerity is the key to obtaining these benefits. Grandmaster JinBodhi then led the participants in chanting The Medicine Buddha Mantra and prayed that the Buddha would grant our fathers from previous lifetimes luck and auspiciousness.

【You will learn】

  • The benefits of meditation and chanting
  • The vows of Medicine Buddha and the benefits of chanting the Medicine Buddha mantra
  • The relationship between gratitude for parents, fate and causality
  • Chanting for your father with Grandmaster JinBodhi


Chanting Makes One Wise and Intelligent

What did you do just now? Singing. Isn’t this a chanting class? What songsdid you sing? “Talk less and chant more.” Singing cannot help as much as chanting the mantras and Buddha’s names. Did you chant as well? How long did you chant in the morning? You all still look so clear-minded,which indicates you didn’t put yourself into it totally. If you lose track of time while chanting, then you are probably totally into it. Some people keep watching the clock, wondering when to stop.
At first, chanting can seem boring, since, unlike using a computer, it doesn’t offer much interaction. Chanting or meditation can seem boring to beginners.

Follow the Law of Causality; Imperfections in Our Fate can be Repaired.

If you have an illness, pleaseraiseyourhand. Howcome so many handsare raised?! If you feel you are abit foolish sometimes, please raise your hand. Not so many. If you feel clever, I guess many of you will not admit being clever, though you are thinking, “I’ve tricked so many people, of course, I’m clever!”

Alright, no need to raise your hands on this one. Many feelthey lack health, or wisdom, or money. Some people feel they have suffered a lot,or that they are suffering now.Some are jobless.People are in various kinds of trouble-illness, lack of money…. What other kinds of trouble?Two are enough for a personto carry. Relationships? Yes, there is sufferingin relationships, too.

There may be many defects in life. In fact, many people are very unfortunate. Some people are born with an incomplete body. Some are born mentally challenged because of either hereditary or other factors. They later feel the pain of not making adequate progress at school. I have had this experience.: Classmates look down on you, teachers think you are incompetent, and you are bullied by siblings. Your parents sympathize with you out of pity. This kind of sympathy causes pain. Many people complain of hurt feelings, an unhappy marriage, etc. Some cannot keep a job.There could be many afflictions in our lives.

Yet some people seem to be luckier than others. They don’t seem to encounter so many problems. Why are they lucky?The Christians will tell you God has endowed them with luck. The Buddhists believe in causality: Any suffering a person goes through is the fruit from a seed of causation, like fruit at harvest time. If the seed isa peach seed, you cannot get an apple. It is just like that. Among peaches, there are differences in quality. All seeds, including human DNA, have different qualities. In the animal world, male herbivore animals, such as deer and goats, fight for top position during mating season to
secure mating privileges. They fight towin the top position, thus being the first to mate with the females.

I mention this to emphasize the importance of the quality of the seed gene. A doe will become pregnant with a baby deer that inherits the deer king’s DNA.

The deer king is big and strong, as well as being the brightest and bravest of his herd. Thus, his offspring will have strong immune systems. Young deer must be able to run away from predators, so deer learn to stand up soon after birth, and
can run five minutes after birth. If the deer dad were weak or disabled, what would its offspring be like? Perhaps weak, becoming lunch for a wolf. So, the female herbivores all know to choose to mate with the strongest males. Their survival instinct chooses the best seed.

It is the same with humans. Your DNA decides health, intelligence, and even your luck. All your suffering, happiness, affliction, wealth, and poverty come from the seed. However, the Buddhist concept of the seed is not absolute. Every
life is independent. Your current life condition is the result of all you did in the past or in past lives. I hear some people complain about their broken marriages; this is the result of behavior in your previous lives. For example, some have
money but not marriage, or meet love but with no result.

A few days ago, I met with a student of mine. He cried hard. I observed his past lives. He was an eagle in one life; I will not go into details here. Those lives, when he ate cruelly, took revenge on him in his current life.The revenge is that the animal becomes his lover in the next life,and when he is very in love, he has to watch his lover die. He has to feel the pain. The animal thought,”You could have spared me,but you killed me, tore me into pieces,and ate me! In disguise, I’ll take revenge!” This kind of story happens all the time because of causality.

Our fate and life experiences are results of what we did or accumulated in the past and in our previous lives.

Can you change your fate-how you feel? Yes,you can. It is causality. Here are four sentences I would like you all to remember: “If you want to know what you did in the previous lives,look at what you are experiencing now.”These first
two sentences mean that your current life, suffering, happiness, family, career, disease, everything you are experiencing now, is the result of your past. The last two sentences are: “If you want to know your future, it is what you are doing right now.”That means what you do now decides your future. Does this make sense to you?

For example, if I study hard now,I will graduate with a certificate. If I learn a trade, I will be able to make a living with it. It is as simple as that. If I treat people nicely, they probably will be nice to me too.This is how we make friends and keep relationships. You cannot always be demanding because relationships will break. You will be better off treating others with respect, giving kindness, and love. Our actions now decide our future. This is why I often suggest that people should not attach to their personalities. If you don’t say nice words to people, you will not get love. Some people grew up without love because their parents talked harshly to each other and treated their children as warlords treated their soldiers. They have suffered a lack of love, and that’s what they know. If your world is made up of squares, then when you draw, you will draw
squares since that’s what you know. We cannot attach to our wrong personalities formed in the past.

When we start to awaken,we ought to act as an awakened being, instead of the old self. We see everything more clearly now, so we should use reasonable behavior and state of mind to face our life situations, and to deal with our friends and colleagues. This would be more sensible. If you insist that you cannot change your personality, your personality will become your hindrance. So, essentially, you will be attached to your hindrance, to your stubbornness, and to your past mistakes. When I was young I had lots of shortcomings. But I continued to self-cultivate, and I’m still bettering myself. I
have personal experience with things I teach today. No matter how our lives are today, if we want to be healthier, richer, wiser, more affectionate, caring, and lovable, we need to correct ourselves continuingly.

Anybody here who doesn’t want to beloved? Please raise your hand! I’m trying to be the Monkey King, using my piercing, sharp eyes to see who will raise their hand, to see who doesn’t want love. There are people like that.They want to appear strong by saying that they don’t care about love. There are such super humans. However, even though their minds tell them they don’t need love, the subconscious wants it. I am like this sometimes. I feel I’m a mixture of many different kinds of characters. Often, I don’tfeel loving,nor the need to be loved.

When I’m exhausted, I stay somewhere alone wanting isolation. That’s what I do when I’m tired. When I was little, I thought no one loved me,and I couldn’t think of anyone I loved either, so I just stay alone by myself without feeling loved. As an adult, after understanding how things work in this world, I realized we desire respect and recognition. We want to better ourselves and be the best we can be. Young people want to have a successful career that gives them fulfillment and makes their parents proud. These goals cannotbe achieved alone.

We will need to harness the power and knowledge of Nature to be enriched by its wisdom so that we can fulfill our life purpose.

How to Have a Better Future:
Show Gratitude to Our Parents and Chant for Them

Do you want your future to be brighter? (Yes!) I have a method, and it is simple: I just talked about the concept of the seed. A seed can be seen, so it is easier for us to understand. But our fate is not made of only one seed. One seed is the original you, or the inborn you according to Chinese Taoism. This “you” exists eternally, and when this eternal”spirit of you”attaches to a human fetus, your life form will be a human. Humans also have different fates. If this eternal “you” attaches to a sheep fetus, you will be born as a lamb. Your fate then will be to be slaughtered someday. What happens if you attach to a bull fetus? You will be born as a calf. Some people live like bulls, arrogantly; some like sheep, timidly.

Humans’ fates are sometimes very pitiful. When we want money, weoverwork; because we get exhausted from overwork, we vow never to work again. Once we become rich, we lie in bed and do nothing. When the fortune does come, we lie in bed for a month ,we cannot walk, and in a few months, we cannot speak. You see, we need to exercise after getting rich. However, rich people and poor people exercise in different ways.

In Asia, rich men play golf,right? The Chinese word “golf” starts with the word “high.” Remember: The Pigsy went to the “High Village” and married “Miss High” after he got some money. Poor people are so desperate to get rich that they get high blood pressure. Have I joked too much? I’m sorry for my playfulness. My meaning is very serious. But I don’t want you to think that studying Buddhadharma and having All-Compassion mean that you must cry all the time. That’s not All-Compassion, but pain and sadness. If we want a good future, there’s one good method that I came to realize myself. It didn’t come from smartness, but from the heart.

Are your parents nice to you? (Nice!) Yet, many of us don’t realize what’s nice about our parents. A student once mentioned that she couldn’t think of anything nice her parents had done for her. I asked if she remembered anybody so far in her life who had helped her. “My landlord,” she replied. “When I was moving in, he helped me to carry my heavy mattress. I’ll be forever grateful.”I reminded her that her father had worked hard so that she could study abroad. I asked why she couldn’t recognize her parent’s help. I could see that she didn’t feel what I felt about this. Maybe after she has a child, she will be able to feel gratitude toward her parents.

If you are a parent, you understand what I mean. When your child is little, you protect them constantly. Mothers cannot sleep through the night for years until their child is older. Before a mother gives birth, she might be a girl who cannot bear dirtiness and mess.She cleans up right away. Yet,once she has a baby, she puts up with all the untidiness and is super-kind to her baby. She sticks to her baby, whatever the circumstances.

Fathers are the same. After having a baby, a father works harder,and feels more responsibility because he has a child. Some fathers get injured or die because of work. Even if fathers have to bear unfair treatment at work,they still keep their jobs in order to earn money for raising their children.They work hard to pay fortheir child’s education. They do anything for their child’s happiness, even if it costs them their life. Fathers are selfless, as are mothers.

Let me tell you a true story I have told before. A girl’s parents divorced when she was little. Her mother told her only bad things about her father because she hated him.This happens among some divorced couples, one party hating the other. The girl didn’t know this, of course. Everytime she asked her mom about her father, her mom said that her father was a bad guy and recounted all the bad thing she did. These bad stories made the little girl believe that her dad was indeed a bad person.

To make a long story short, the girl grew up. One day when planning her wedding, she felt sick. The doctor told her that she had liver cancer, and it was terminal and incurable. When faced with death, such a young person changed her view toward the world. This girl wanted to meet herfather before she died. She told her mom about her wish, and her mom told the girl’s father since it was the wish of her dying daughter. The daughter had mixed feelings about seeing her father.

When the father was told of his daughter’s condition, he asked her doctor if there was anyway to save his daughter’slife.The doctor said the only way was a liver transplant. Then she would have a chance. A maybe, not a guarantee. This father didn’t hesitate, and asked immediately for a test to find out if he could donate his liver.The doctor checked him thoroughly,and his liver was healthy.

He thought that if he gave his liver to his daughter, her body wouldn’treject it. The doctor said this was true, but the father’s heart was too weak to withstand a major operation.The father wasn’t afraid and insisted on donating his liver as he was willing to risk his own life.

The operation was a success, and the daughter survived.The father left a touching letter to her, telling his daughter that he had finally done something for her that had made him proud of himself. It wasn’t true that he didn’t love his daughter. I believe every father loves his child.This girl had been misled by her mom’s opinion. She had misunderstood him and doubted his love for her.

All parents love their children, we should never doubt it. Their love is boundless and stronger than we can express. I hope all of you,my old and new students,can feel gratitude toward your parents,toward your ancestors. Now let’s chant more; let’s chant in gratitude for our fathers. Let’s chant for our fathers, and pray to the Medicine Buddha and all deities in the Eastern Lapis LazuliLand, to all buddhas and bodhisattvas, praying for their blessing for our fathers and all fathers before us. Let all fathers receive good energy and blessings. We wish them happiness,health,and freedom. For the fathers who have passed, we pray and may they be born into Heaven, into the Eastern Lapis LazuliLand,and we wish them eternal freedom from suffering. Only when they are fine, can we be fine, although we are not praying for ourselves right now.

Humans are emotional, and we should be grateful for what we have. Being grateful and chanting with a grateful heart cures all ailments, physical and mental. While we are chanting,we are reflecting on the love,care,and kindness our fathers gave us. When I talked to my father on his deathbed, he still tried to sound cheery and told me not to worry, and that he would be fine again in a few days.But he knew that his days were numbered. He said,”Don’tworry, I’m fine.

This illness is not a big deal.”His tone was light-hearted. Not everyone,knowing they are dying, could be that way, but fathers can because fathers are the cornerstones of families. It seems you have seen my point. Let’s start now: Chant for our fathers, our ancestor fathers, send blessings to them, pray to the Buddha to protect them, and wish them well.