Once upon a time the Bodhisattva – the Enlightenment Being – was born into a high class family in northern India. When he grew up he gave up the ordinary desires of the everyday world and became a holy man. He went to the Himalayan Mountains where 500 other holy men became his followers.
He meditated throughout his long life. He gained supernatural powers – like flying through the air and understanding people’s thoughts without their speaking. These special powers impressed his 500 followers greatly.
One rainy season, the chief follower took 250 of the holy men into the hill country villages to collect salt and other necessities. It just so happened that this was the time when the master was about to die. The 250 who were still by his side realized this. So they asked him, “Oh most holy one, in your long life practicing goodness and meditation, what was your greatest achievement?”
Having difficulty speaking as he was dying, the last words of the Enlightenment Being were, “No Thing.” Then he was reborn in a heaven world.
Expecting to hear about some fantastic magical power, the 250 followers were disappointed. They said to each other. “After a long life practicing goodness and meditation. our poor master has achieved ‘nothing’.” Since they considered him a failure, they burned his body with no special ceremony, honors, or even respect.
When the chief follower returned he asked, “Where is the holy one?” “He has died,” they told him. “Did you ask him about his greatest achievement?” “Of course we did,” they answered. “And what did he say?” asked the chief follower. “He said he achieved ‘nothing’,” they replied, “so we didn’t celebrate his funeral with any special honors.”
Then the chief follower said, “You brothers did not understand the meaning of the teacher’s words. He achieved the great knowledge of ‘No Thing’. He realized that the names of things are not what they are. There is what there is, without being called ‘this thing’ or ‘that thing’. There is no ‘Thing’.” In this way the chief follower explained the wonderful achievement of their great master, but they still did not understand.
Meanwhile, from his heaven world, the reborn Enlightenment Being saw that his former chief follower’s words were not accepted. So he left the heaven world and appeared floating in the air above his former followers’ monastery. In praise of the chief follower’s wisdom he said, “The one who hears the Truth and understands automatically, is far better off than a hundred fools who spend a hundred years thinking and thinking and thinking.”
By preaching in this way, the Great Being encouraged the 500 holy men to continue seeking Truth. After lives spent in serious meditation, all 500 died and were reborn in the same heaven world with their former master.
Hua Zang Si is my favorite sacred spiritual worship place in the bay area. In there I find peace, relaxation, and harmony, and a home for my soul. I have gone there many times, to chant the sutra, join the meditation sessions, and participate in Dharma assemblies.
Hua Zang Si, an impressive-looking temple located in the center of the Mission District in San Francisco. The building was formerly the St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, built in 1903, and has been repurposed as a Chinese temple. To me it is really a friendly symbol that different religions can coexist in harmony.
The large outside facade of the temple is painted red color, made the building a very outstanding and eye-catching landmark in the neighborhood. Red is a good color in Chinese culture that symbolizes auspiciousness and warding off evil spirits。
Once entering the temple, I feel like I am in another world. The marvelous statue at the entrance of the temple is an oversize representation of a jolly, laughing Buddha: Maitreya Bodhisattva (the next Buddha in this Saha world). It is such a warm welcoming sign. The big belly not only means jolly, it also means tolerating those intolerable things in the world. So when you look at the statue, you will start to feel that learning Buddhism is happy and kind.
Walking inside, the first floor is Shakyamuni Buddha Hall. The golden statue of Shakyamuni Buddha is a very dignified-looking Buddhist statue. On the left side is the one thousand-armed and one thousand-eyed Guanyin Bodhisattva, an awe-inspiring statue. On the right side is Skanda Bodhisattva, a standing majestic full-body armored statue. With a sword in hand, Skanda Bodhisattva is a Buddha Dharma protector, and it is believed he can subjugate demons and evil spirits.
The second floor is Amitabha Buddha Hall. The twenty-one-foot-high statue of Amitabha Buddha (designed by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III) has been generally recognized as the most majestic Buddhist statue in the world. It is an extremely solemn sight. The color painted on the face is so lifelike, one feels like seeing the real Amitabha Buddha from western paradise. The Buddha’s eyes seem alive as well, looking down at all beings full of compassion and love. Every time when I look at the Buddha, I feel so moved and touched, tears fill my eyes. I can’t help but to kneel down and pray wholeheartedly: Please Buddha save me from the birth-death cycle, please take me to the western pure land. I feel my whole body melted into the compassionate gaze of the Buddha.
In the center of Amitabha Buddha hall, there is a large circular mandala on which a Yun sculpture (carved by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III) depicting Mt. Sumeru is placed. In that Yun sculpture are shariras (sacred relics) of the Shakyamuni Buddha for worshipping.
Directly facing the Amitabha Buddha is a tall Dharma altar, there is a huge blue Dorje Chang Buddha image. Dorje Chang Buddha is also called Buddha Vajradhara or Ruler of the Vajra Beings. In the entire universe, Dorje Chang Buddha is the first Buddha with form and is the highest Buddha. That is, the highest leader of Buddhism in the entire universe came into being in the form of Dorje Chang Buddha. It was Dorje Chang Buddha who began transmitting dharma and saving living beings in the dharmadhatu. As a result, Buddhism was born and the Buddha-dharma began spreading.
In front of the image of Dorje Chang Buddha are photos of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. Dorje Chang Buddha has come to this world twice. The first time was in the form of the holy and venerable Vimalakirti, who was Dorje Chang Buddha II. The second time was in the form of H.H. Wan Ko Yeshe Norbu, who is Dorje Chang Buddha III.
These photos were true records of the holy miracle Buddha Dharma. On October 18, 2012, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III within ten minutes, reversed his appearance back to a youthful look. This incredible Buddha Dharma ever practiced successfully by Guru Rinpoche long time ago in Tibet.
Hua Zang Si has many Holy Treasures , make sure you check them out at the corner of this hall as well.
The third floor contains a library of Buddhist scriptures.
The backyard — a city oasis in the shadow of surrounding Victorians — is home to a magnolia tree, which the faithful say rained nectar for three days, along with a miraculous lotus tub used in the bathing of the Buddha and heavenly beings.
Further back, there is Dharma protector pavilion, a statue of the Dharma Protecting Deity Guan Yu was installed inside.
Guan Yu took refuge in Master Zhiyi at Yuquan Hill. He then manifested great supernatural power and constructed the Yuquan Temple overnight on a barren lot, where he resolved to become a protector of Buddhism. That is why, upon the plea of many Buddhist practitioners, he was recommended to be the Dharma Protecting Deity of Hua Zang Si.
Hua Zang Si is different from other temples that propagate only one sect within Buddhism. It teaches all of the various sects within Buddhism. If you want to know and learn Buddhism, Hua Zang Si is the best place to start with.
Green Tara (Jetsun Drolma) statue from the Gyantse Kumbum Pagoda, Pelkor Chode Monastery, Gyantse, Tibet
H.E. Tangtong Gyalpo Bodhisattva (1361-1485)
It is through the understanding and practice of the Buddha-dharma that one becomes a holy person–a living jewel. Sainthood in Buddhism has a somewhat different meaning than that held in Christianity although both refer to people who live an exceptionally holy life, are very compassionate, and can demonstrate certain “miracles.” In Buddhism it also means one who has become enlightened—been liberated from the cycle of reincarnation and all its related suffering. The Christian saint aspires to be born in the Christian heaven, but this is not the goal of a Buddhist. A Buddhist saint is one who has escaped samsara or existence all together and gone beyond what is possible in the heavenly realms. A Buddhist saint would live in the Dharma realms or wherever he choses to be to help living beings. A saint in Buddhism is one who, like the Buddha, has become enlightened and realized his or her original nature, possessing the skills and wisdom of a Buddha. They have gained control over life and death and are thus liberated from the cycle of reincarnation. This is true happiness!
In Buddhism saints may not lead what is normally thought of as a “conventional” life. There are many examples of Buddhist saints who exhibited most unorthodox (“deliberate“) behavior. Examples of these kinds of happy, crazy saints are Han-shan and Shih-te, eccentric Ch’an (Zen) hermit-monks from Tang Dynasty, as well as Monk Ji-gong and Birdnest Roshi, but there are many others including the crazy yogis of Tibet like Padmasambhava, Virupa, Manjusrimitra, Tsang Nyon Heruka, and Tangtong Gyalpo. Saints can manifest in innumerable forms and may appear as humans or animals or live in other dimensions.
Japanese hanging scroll by Hashimoto Gaho of Han-shan and Shih-te (Kanzan and Fittoku), eccentric Ch’an (Zen) hermit-monks from Tang Dynasty, whose poetry is popular in the west.
It is important to know that one cannot fully understand what takes place on higher levels of the path. For example, those on the first Bodhisattva stage do not know about what takes place on the second Bodhisattva stage and so on up the path. Those on the second Bodhisattva stage see those on the first Bodhisattva stage as having impurities. Even those on the tenth Bodhisattva stage see those on the ninth Bodhisattva stage as having certain impurities. It is natural that the impurities and obscurations of those on the lower levels would be greater than those at the higher levels. Nevertheless, those who are kind and benefit others can guide and transform living beings no matter where they are on the path. However, ordinary beings and those at the lower levels of the path cannot possibly understand the behavior of true holy beings.
The key features of the various paths to becoming a holy being are summarized in the chart “The Way to Become a Holy Being or Saint.” It is useful to think of these paths as stages on the way to becoming a Buddha. It is interesting to note that the other world religions are also included as initial stages on the way to buddhahood in as much as they teach compassion, loving kindness, some aspects of morality, and discourage evil. Some also teach various forms of training the mind in meditation. Bodhisattvas do not only incarnate as Buddhists to help living being. The three pure precepts of Buddhism—cease evil, do good, and help others—can be practiced in many forms.
You must remember that ALL sentient beings are evolving toward the perfection of being a Buddha, whether they know it or not, and whether at the moment they may be very confused and behaving in foolish or even evil ways. This includes the minions of Mara and the demons of hell as well as the devas or gods in heaven.
In the world of Buddhist eschatology, Maitreya literally means the future Buddha. Maitreya Buddha is considered as the 5th Buddha that is believed to appear in this Kalpa or era. Thus, Maitreya Buddha is considered as the Future Buddha that is yet to appear in this age. In various Buddhist sutra such as Amitabha Sutra, as well as Lotus Sutra, Maitreya Buddha is believed to be called as Ajita.
According to Buddhist history and tradition, Maitreya Buddha is believed to be Bodhisattva who will appear in the Earth in the future, will achieve Nirvana and will teach the people of Earth the pure Dharma just like Shakyamuni Buddha did. According to the Buddhist texts as well scriptures, Maitreya Buddha will be considered as the successor of the living Buddha i.e. Gautama Buddha. The Prophecy of Maitreya Buddha coming back to the terrestrial world is written in most of the major Schools of Buddhism in many Buddhist countries
Attributes of Maitreya Buddha
Many Maitreya Buddha statues, Buddha images are shown with different attributes as well as Hand mudras as well as postures. The Maitreya Buddha statues are represented with all the attributes that must be in the attributes of Bodhisattva. Most of the Buddha statues of Maitreya Buddha are pdepicted with both hands using Dharmachakra Mudra.
Maitreya Buddha is also represented as holding lotus flower in each hand of the statues. Each hands also possessed a Wheel of Dharma as well a ritual base. Both Wheel of Dharmaas well as ritual vase are shown on the top of lotus flower. The wheel of dharma on the top of lotus shows that maitreya Buddha emphasize his mission to spread and teach Dharma to all beings. While the Ritual vase on the top of lotus shows that Maitreya Buddha will be born in the family of low cast while Buddhist history shows that Shakyamuni Buddha was born in the family of high cast.
Laughing Buddha as Maitreya Buddha
Laughing Buddha is shown as the next Maitreya Buddha in the Chinese Buddhism. Laughing Buddha is also believed to be a Bodhisattva and will be the next Matreya Buddha. There are various Buddha statues that represents Maitreya Buddha but Laughing Buddha is one of the most popular known Buddha in the whole world especially for his fat belly and smiling face.