I started cultivating the Medicine Master Dharma door two months ago. I know very little about cultivation and wish to ask you a few questions to clarify my understanding:
1. In the morning, I recite the Medicine Master Buddha mantra. I stop reciting before it becomes
monotonous, so I won’t become bored with it the following day. Afterward, I recite Medicine Master Buddha’s name 108 times with the recitation beads and bow to the Buddha in repentance.
2. In the evening, I sit in front of the Triple Jewel altar at home to recite Earth Store Bodhisattva and Guan Yin, 108 times each, and then I bow to the Buddha in repentance.
3. Before going to bed, I try to recite Amitabha Buddha and Shakyamuni Buddha’s names 108 times each because they are the biggest name Buddhas in this Saha world. Then I bow in repentance.
…Occasionally, I recite another Buddha or Bodhisattva’s names in gratitude.
I used to recite the Medicine Master Sutra, however now I only recite the Buddha’s name because it helps me be more focused.
I am just a baby on the path to cultivation; there still is a lot that I don’t understand. I am learning to do good deeds and then I transfer the merit and virtue to all living beings, ghosts and spirits who are suffering… Because of my heavy karmic obstructions, I can only generate few blessings, but I sincerely wish to help them and I pray on their behalf. At the same time, I also pray for myself. Because I suffer so much, I appeal to the Buddha for help. I heard that one should not pray for oneself, but I have also heard that the Buddhas wish to aid and rescue living beings and therefore I think I should be able to pray for myself too. Does that make sense, Ven. Master?
I have an affinity with Medicine Master Buddha and I venerate him. However, I also recite Guan Yin’s name frequently. Is that OK, Master? Reciting Guan Yin’s name helps me concentrate better in my daily activities. Medicine Master Buddha’s name seems a bit long and complicated to recite, making it difficult to concentrate! That is why I recite it as Na Mo Medicine Master Buddha, Medicine Master Buddha. Is this alright?
When reciting the Buddha’s name, I recite both Buddhas’ names at the same time for 108 times with the recitation beads. Is this appropriate?
Thank you for reading my request and answering it!
That is what I call vigor!
Let me give you a few suggestions:
- Recite the Medicine Master Buddha mantra 108 times each day. Pay no attention to that boredom: it comes uninvited and goes away by itself too.
- Learn to sit in full lotus if at all possible. It will help you concentrate better. Keep up with the bowing daily: it is very beneficial for beginners.
- Reciting the Buddha’s name is very good for eradicating retributions.
At the end of each day of cultivation, please make transference of merit and virtue to all living beings for the sake of their obtaining rebirth to the Pure Land. It is better to not make transference to oneself: you get more blessings in return when you offer it to others.
Reciting Guan Yin’s name is very good as it works well for you. As for reciting Medicine Master Buddha’s name, try reciting: Yao Shi Ru Lai (Medicine Master Thus Come One).
It is better to recite one Buddha’s name that many times and then recite the other Buddha’s name.
Please keep up with your cultivation: it will gradually help alleviate your suffering and it will create blessings for you to encounter a competent teacher who can teach you how to deal with your problems.
May I suggest that you also try the following?
- Read up on Great Master Xuan Hua’s teachings. Then read up on my teachings. They will help you learn more about Mahayana and plant the proper seeds of wisdom.
- In particular, read carefully my explanations of the Bequeathed Teachings Sutra: it is designed for serious cultivators.
- Commit to following the instructions of my Chan Handbook: The Learner’s Guide to Meditation, it will be tremendously beneficial in building your concentration. It should be available soon in Vietnamese on CreateSpace. As I get older, I have become lazier. I do get tired of repeating the same instructions on the fundamentals of cultivation and therefore I decided to write a book on meditation so that all of you can use it as a reference.
Thank you for your inquiry. I hope that you will find a Good Knowing Adviser soon.