Wednesday Vespers

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Wednesday
Vespers

Blessed One, come to my assistance

O’ Lord, make haste to help me

Glory be to the Blessed Buddha and to the Divine Dharma and to the Hallowed Sangha, both now and forever and ever. Swaha.

Come, Bless the Lord, all you supplicants of Holy Gnosis. You who reside in the house of the Noble One, in the sanctum sanctorum of the Unborn Mind.

Blessed One, be merciful to me, a transgressor of your ways. Oh Lord, create in me a mind and heart that is worthy of your Divine Precepts. I have fallen out of your favor, turn-me about O’ Lord, so that I may again rest secure in the hidden light of thy holy Countenance.

Loving mother of all Buddhas,
imageless gate of the Dharmakaya,
assist those who seek safe-haven in you.
To the bewilderment of all the composed you conceived
in the darkened womb of Bodhi a fetus so singular in nature,
Yet remained a virgin after as before.
You have received Mañjuśhrī’s Wisdom Stamp,
Arya Tara, may we be indivisible from you.

Your name is Our Lady of the Void. You alone are Holy Mother of all Buddhas
and are raised on high over all spheres. O’ Spouse of the Unborn, we honor you as the Mediatrix of the Divine Mercy of the Tathāgatas. At all times we
reverently proclaim you Blessed for you conceived the Holy Garbha Child of
supreme auspiciousness.

 

From Larger Sutra on Amida Buddha (Amida’s light):

[11] The Buddha said to Ananda, “The majestic light of the Buddha Amitayus is the most exalted. No other Buddha’s light can match his. The light of some Buddhas illuminates a hundred Buddha-lands, and that of others, a thousand Buddha-lands. Briefly, that of Amitayus illuminates the eastern Buddha-land, as numerous as the sands of the River Ganges. In the same way, it illuminates the Buddha-lands in the south, west and north, in each of the four intermediate quarters, above and below. Further, the light of some Buddhas extends seven feet; that of others, one yojana, or two, three, four or five yojanas; and the distance covered increases in this way until the light of some Buddhas illuminates one Buddha-land. “For this reason, Amitayus is called by the following names: the Buddha of Infinite Light, the Buddha of Boundless Light, the Buddha of Unhindered Light, the Buddha of Incomparable Light, the Buddha of the Light of the King of Flame, the Buddha of Pure Light, the Buddha of the Light of Joy, the Buddha of Light of Wisdom, the Buddha of Unceasing Light, the Buddha of Inconceivable Light, the Buddha of Ineffable Light, and the Buddha of the Light Outshining the Sun and the Moon.

“If, sentient beings encounter his light, their three defilements are removed; they feel tenderness, joy and pleasure; and good thoughts arise. If sentient beings in the three realms of suffering see his light, they will all be relieved and freed from affliction. At the end of their lives, they all reach emancipation.

“The light of Amitayus shines brilliantly, illuminating all the Buddha-lands of the ten quarters. There is no place where it is not perceived. I am not the only one who now praises his light. All the Buddhas, shravakas, pratyekabuddhas and bodhisattvas praise and glorify it in the same way. If sentient beings, having heard of the majestic virtue of his light, glorify it continually, day and night, with sincerity of heart, they will be able to attain birth in his land, as they wish. Then the multitudes of bodhisattvas and shravakas will praise their excellent virtue. Later, when they attain Buddhahood, all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas in the ten quarters will praise their light, just as I now praise the light of Amitayus.”

The Buddha continued, “The majestic glory of the light of Amitayus could not be exhaustively described even if I praised it continuously, day and night, for the period of one kalpa.”

Adanta Sutta (Untamed):

“Monks, I know not of any other single thing so intractable as
the untamed mind. The untamed mind is indeed a thing untractable.

“Monks, I know not of any other thing so tractable as the tamed
mind. The tamed mind is indeed a thing tractable.

“Monks, I know not of any other single thing so conducive to
great loss as the untamed mind. The untamed mind indeed
conduces to great loss.

“Monks, I know not of any other single thing so conducive to
great profit as the tamed mind. The tamed mind indeed
conduces to great profit.

“Monks, I know not of any other single thing that brings such
woe as the mind that is untamed, uncontrolled, unguarded and
unrestrained. Such a mind indeed brings great woe.

“Monks, I know not of any other single thing that brings such
bliss as the mind that is tamed, controlled, guarded and
restrained. Such a mind indeed brings great bliss.”

O’ Virgin Void Mother, in the depths of your womb you ponder the stirring Bodhichild. Bring us, too, to the Great Joy of this Noble Self-realization.

From Zen Master Yuanwu, on “The Essential Point”:

The essential point in learning Zen is to make the roots deep and the stem firm. Twenty-four hours a day, be aware of where you are and what you do.

When no thoughts have arisen and nothing at all in on your mind, you merge with the boundless and become wholly empty and still. Then your actions are not interrupted by doubt and hesitation.

This is called the fundamental matter right at hand.

As soon as you produce any opinion or interpretation, and want to attain Zen and be a master, you have already fallen into psychological and material realms. You have become trapped by ordinary senses and perceptions, by ideas of gain and loss, by ideas of right and wrong. Half drunk and half sober, you cannot manage effectively.

A Buddhist Parable, from the Jakata Stories (Demons in the Desert):

Once upon a time there were two merchants, who were friends. Both of them were getting ready for business trips to sell their merchandise, so they had to decide whether to travel together. They agreed that, since each had about 500 carts, and they were going to the same place along the same road, it would be too crowded to go at the same time.

One decided that it would be much better to go first. He thought, “The road will not be rutted by the carts, the bullocks will be able to choose the best of all the grass, we will find the best fruits and vegetables to eat, my people will appreciate my leadership and, in the end, I will be able to bargain for the best prices.”

The other merchant considered carefully and realized there were advantages to going second. He thought, “My friend’s carts will level the ground so we won’t have to do any road work, his bullocks will eat the old rough grass and new tender shoots will spring up for mine to eat. In the same way, they will pick the old fruits and vegetables and fresh ones will grow for us to enjoy. I won’t have to waste my time bargaining when I can take the price already set and make my profit.” So he agreed to let his friend go first. This friend was sure he’d fooled him and gotten the best of him – so he set out first on the journey.

The merchant who went first had a troublesome time of it. They came to a wilderness called the ‘Waterless Desert’, which the local people said was haunted by demons. When the caravan reached the middle of it, they met a large group coming from the opposite direction. They had carts that were mud smeared and dripping with water. They had lotuses and water lilies in their hands and in the carts. The head man, who had a know-it-all attitude, said to the merchant, “Why are you carrying these heavy loads of water? In a short time you will reach that oasis on the horizon with plenty of water to drink and dates to eat. Your bullocks are tired from pulling those heavy carts filled with extra water – so throw away the water and be kind to your overworked animals!”

Even though the local people had warned them, the merchant did not realize that these were not real people, but demons in disguise. They were even in danger of being eaten by them. Being confident that they were helpful people, he followed their advice and had all his water emptied onto the ground.

As they continued on their way they found no oasis or any water at all. Some realized they’d been fooled by beings that might have been demons, and started to grumble and accuse the merchant. At the end of the day, all the people were tired out. The bullocks were too weak from lack of water to pull their heavy carts. All the people and animals lay down in a haphazard manner and fell into a deep sleep. Lo and behold, during the night the demons came in their true frightening forms and gobbled up all the weak defenseless beings. When they were done there were only bones lying scattered around – not one human or animal was left alive.

After several months, the second merchant began his journey along the same way. When he arrived at the wilderness, he assembled all his people and advised them – “This is called the ‘Waterless Desert’ and I have heard that it is haunted by demons and ghosts. Therefore we should be careful. Since there may be poison plants and foul water, don’t drink any local water without asking me.” In this way they started into the desert.

After getting about halfway through, in the same way as with the first caravan, they were met by the water soaked demons in disguise. They told them the oasis was near and they should throw away their water. But the wise merchant saw through them right away. He knew it didn’t make sense to have an oasis in a place called ‘Waterless Desert’. And besides, these people had bulging red eyes and an aggressive and pushy attitude, so he suspected they might be demons. He told them to leave them alone saying, “We are business men who don’t throw away good water before we know where the next is coming from.”

Then seeing that his own people had doubts, the merchant said to them, “Don’t believe these people, who may be demons, until we actually find water. The oasis they point to may be just an illusion or a mirage. Have you ever heard of water in this ‘Waterless Desert’? Do you feel any rain-wind or see any storm clouds?” They all said, “No”, and he continued, “If we believe these strangers and throw away our water, then later we may not have any to drink or cook with – then we will be weak and thirsty and it would be easy for demons to come and rob us, or even eat us up! Therefore, until we really find water, do not waste even a drop!”

The caravan continued on its way and, that evening, reached the place where the first caravan’s people and bullocks had been killed and eaten by the demons. They found the carts and human and animal bones lying all around. They recognized that the fully loaded carts and the scattered bones belonged to the former caravan. The wise merchant told certain people to stand watch around the camp during the night.

The next morning the people ate breakfast, and fed their bullocks well. They added to their goods the most valuable things left from the first caravan. So they finished their journey very successfully, and returned home safely so that they and their families could enjoy their profits.

The moral is: One must always be wise enough not to be fooled by tricky talk and false appearances.

From Chuang-Tzu (When Knowledge Went North):

Knowledge wandered north
Looking for Tao, over the Dark Sea,
And up the Invisible Mountain.
There on the mountain he met
Non-Doing, the Speechless One.

He inquired:
“Please inform me, Sir,
By what system of thought
And what technique of meditation
I can apprehend Tao?
By what renunciation
Or what solitary retirement
May I rest in Tao?
Where must I start,
What road must I follow
To reach Tao?”

Such were his three questions.
Non-Doing, the Speechless One,
Made no reply.
Not only that,
He did not even know
How to reply!

Knowledge swung south
To the Bright Sea
And climbed the Luminous Mountain
Called “Doubt’s End.”
Here he met
Act-on-Impulse, the Inspired Prophet,
And asked the same questions.

“Ah,” cried the Inspired One,
“I have the answers, and I will reveal them! ”
But just as he was about to tell everything,
He forgot all he had in mind.
Knowledge got no reply.

So Knowledge went at last
To the palace of Emperor Ti,
And asked his questions of Ti.
Ti replied:

“To exercise no-thought
And follow no-way of meditation
Is the first step toward understanding Tao.
To dwell nowhere
And rest in nothing
Is the first step toward resting in Tao.
To start from nowhere
And follow no road
Is the first step toward attaining Tao.”

Knowledge replied: “You know this
And now I know it. But the other two,
They did not know it.
What about that?
Who is right?”
Ti replied:
Only Non-Doing, the Speechless One,
Was perfectly right. He did not know.
Act-on-Impulse, the Inspired Prophet,
Only seemed right
Because he had forgotten.
As for us,
We come nowhere near being right,
Since we have the answers.
“For he who knows does not speak,
He who speaks does not know”
And “The Wise Man gives instruction
Without the use of speech.”

This story got back
To Act-on-Impulse
Who agreed with Ti’s
Way of putting it.
It is not reported
That Non-Doing ever heard of the matter
Or made any comment. [Version by Thomas Merton]

From the Unborn Gita:

3.24 If my animating principle should cease to function, the cosmos
would unravel into sheer nothingness.

3.30 Remember to daily dedicate all your actions to me. If you do rest
assured that you will remain centered in the Self (Atman) and will not
be afflicted by any feverish longings, selfishness, or ego-spawned grief.

3.33 Compulsory thoughts and actions are a direct hindrance to the
natural-way of the Unborn. One’s spirit needs to follow this natural-way
and not the way of fleeting tendencies within the gunas.

Unborn Magnificat
My soul magnifies the Unborn.
And my spirit rejoices in the Buddhadharma,
For the Blessed One has anointed me;
Behold! All generations shall call me blessed,
For the Mighty Lord has bestowed His Immaculate Bodhi-Seed within me;
And hallowed is His Dharma-realm.
His mercy and compassion are conferred upon all who revere Him.
He has scattered the darkness of ignorance,
And has cast-down Mara from his throne.
He has filled the restless with peaceful repose,
And has turned the haughty-minded away in their delusions.
His Spirit enlightens the resolute in their Recollective Resolve,
Being thus mindful of His Divine-Mercy,
The promise He made to our fathers of old,
To Bodhidharma and his disciples forever.

Glory be to the Blessed Buddha and to the Divine Dharma and to the Hallowed Sangha, both now and forever and ever. Swaha.

May all the Buddhas and Dharma-Guardians bless us, protect us from all harm, and awaken us to the Light of Truth in the Unborn. Swaha

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