great disciples of Amitabha Buddha. Unlike Kuan Shih Yin
who is widely worshipped and has countless temples and shrines
in her name, Ta-Shih-Chi is hardly venerated by the common
people and for this reason, the next chapter is dedicated to her
even though she does not appear in the pantheon.
Ta-Shih-Chi P'usa is one of the two main Bodhisat vas of Pure
Land Buddhism. Her Sanskrit name is MAHASTHAMAPRATA
which means `one who has attained great strength' and is there-
fore often cal ed the Bodhisat va of Universal Strength. She is an
at ribute of Amitabha Buddha, representing his Wisdom just as
Kuan Shih Yin is his compassionate aspect. She earned her rank
of Bodhisat vahood in the distant past through the practice of
reciting the name of the Buddha of that period of time. When
Amitabha became a Buddha, she and Kuan Shih Yin became his
disciples and thus were responsible in welcoming the faithful of
the Buddha to his Pure Land at the time of their death.
e Shurangama Sutra states that in time to come "when
Amitabha Buddha retires as the teaching host of the Pure Land,
Kuan Shih Yin will take over the responsibility. When it is time
for Kuan Shih Yin to retire as Lord of the Pure Land, Ta Shih
Chi P'usa will be her successor...."
Ta Shih Chi P'usa is said to be so powerful that whenever she
raises her hand or moves any part of her body, the earth will
quake and tremble. Although she is a very popular Bodhisat va
to the Chinese, she has not found as many devotees as Kuan
Shih Yin and it is extremely difficult to find a temple dedicated
solely in her honour. She is normal y worshipped in the Triad
with Amitabha Buddha and Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisat va and
pictures of them together are commonly found in homes of the
Pure Land Buddhists. ose who wish to form a karmic link
with her should daily spend a few minutes contemplating on her
and request for "wisdom and strength in cultivation" or mind-
ful y holding her name through the recitation of:
"NAMO TA-SHIH-CHI P'USA"
Recitation should be done with firm faith, devotion and single-
mindedness so that all kinds of distracting thoughts are quel ed.
It is also very important that virtuous conduct be maintained so
that one must not indulge in kil ing or harming others, stealing,
living immoral y, lying, speaking harshly, or taking intoxicants of
any kind that delude the mind. To reach this great Bodhisat va
one has to be pure both in mind and spirit. Practising mind-
fulness on Ta Shih Chi P'usa is the same as adoring Amitabha
Buddha and qualifies one to take rebirth in the Pure Land after
this earthly life.
e success in attaining Bodhisat vahood is dependent upon the
fulfilment of the vast and noble vows set by the aspiring bodhi-
sat va. e Ten Great Vows of Ta Shih Chi P'usa, also known
as the Universal Worthy Bodhisat va, which all Pure Land
Buddhists should know are:
1. To worship and respect all Buddhas.
2. To praise the us-Come-One (e Buddha)
3. To cultivate the giving of offering.
4. To repent and reform all karmic faults.
5. To compliantly rejoice in merit and virtue.
6. To request the turning of the Dharma Wheel.
7. To request that the Buddhas dwell in the world.
8. To always fol ow the Buddhas in study.
9. To forever accord with living beings.
10. To universal y transfer all merit and virtue.
Besides having fulfil ed these great vows, Ta Shih Chi has also
successful y practised the Four Great Vows of:
Saving the limitless living beings.
Cut ing off all evil passions.
Studying the immeasurable Dharma Doors.
Realising the supreme Buddha Way.
Unlike Kuan Shih Yin P'usa whose role is to grant help and to
succor beings in misery, Ta Shih Chih P'usa renders her help to
a different category of people, those who are bent on put ing to
practise the Buddha's way of life and striving to attain perfection.
us the number of beings who choose to become her devotees
are few in number as cultivators of the path are scarce indeed. It
is said that this great P'usa has a Gold Pavilion or lotus platform
which she will lend to those who hold her name so that they can
ride upon it to the Pure Land. If you are one who is seriously
striving for enlightenment, then you should not hesitate to recite
the name of this great Bodhisat va constantly.
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