Returning My Life to the Light at the Great Buddha’s Crown

Why does the Buddha have bright light? It’s because he doesn’t entertain darkness and delusion.

I now return my life to the Great Buddha’s Crown,
To the wisdom light of the inexhaustible Dharma treasury.
I vow to understand the wonderful dharani
And respectfully practice the principles spoken by the Tathagata.

I now return my life to the Great Buddha’s Crown. All of the Dharma-protectors are saying, “Together, we now return our lives to the Spiritual Mantra of the Foremost Shurangama at the Great Buddha’s Crown.”

To the wisdom light of the inexhaustible Dharma treasury. The Great Buddha’s Crown is an inexhaustible Dharma treasury; no matter how much you use of it or take from it, it cannot be depleted. This inexhaustible Dharma treasury doesn’t come from the outside. Rather, it manifests from within your own nature. Then why doesn’t it manifest now? Right now it resembles the situation of insects in dormancy, when they don’t move. But when the weather warms up, they become active. When people cultivate to the point that their bodies get warm, the bugs of their own nature come alive. When that happens, all the bad bugs in the body die.

“Isn’t that killing?” you ask.

If you think so, don’t cultivate; no one’s forcing you to. You can live a worldly life filled with afflictions, quarrelling, ignorance, jealousy, and obstructiveness. If you want to cultivate, however, you have to transform all those bad bugs and return to your original Buddha nature. Before you become a Buddha, your body has 84,000 big bugs splitting up your nature, eating your flesh, and drinking your blood. These bad bugs live in your body and control you, causing you to make mischief, break the rules, and do deluded things.

“Oh, so it’s the bugs that make me do these things,” you say.

Yes, but why do you want to help them out? You can’t stand even a little hunger or thirst, and you can’t bear it if you don’t get enough sleep. Why do you want to protect those bugs? Since you protect them, your own nature cannot manifest.

Just what exactly are these bugs? These dull-witted bugs live in your body and make you feel uncomfortable all over. Every part of your body has some kind of problem, and you have one illness after another because these ungrateful bugs are up to no good. They disturb you and cause you not to be able to bear it if you don’t wear enough clothes or eat enough. They love to bother you.

The inexhaustible Dharma treasury is born from the Great Buddha’s Crown. The Buddha’s light is not an ordinary kind of light, but the light of wisdom. Why does the Buddha have light? It’s because he doesn’t entertain darkness and delusion. He illuminates everything with the light of wisdom and pierces through ignorance. [“Ignorance” in Chinese is wu ming, literally “no light.”] When ignorance is shattered, the Dharma nature manifests. The light of wisdom is just the Buddha’s light.

I vow to understand the wonderful dharani. Why do we want to respectfully make offerings to the great wisdom light of the inexhaustible Dharma treasury of the Great Buddha’s Crown? It’s because we wish to understand the great dharani, the Shurangama Dharani. The Great Compassion Mantra is also called the Great Compassion Dharani. Dharani is a Sanskrit word that means “uniting and upholding,” because it unites all dharmas and upholds limitless meanings. All dharmas originate from this source. Look at the flag of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association. The red stripes represent the light of wisdom. That light is born from the One.

One source gives rise to the myriad things.
The myriad things return to that one source.

From this one spot, the light can shine in all directions. It can also return from all directions back to that one spot. The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas doesn’t have just one light. Every Buddha emits light, and all those lights merge into one without cancelling or obstructing one another.

And respectfully practice the principles spoken by the Tathagata. After we understand this great dharani, we must respectfully practice in accord with the principles spoken by the Buddha.