I didn’t really want to share this as it is something shameful and personal. But I think this response is too incredible and so obvious, that I have to share it to help others have more faith in Guanshiyin Pusa (Bodhisattva).
There was a period of time some time ago when I liked this guy, and often thought about him. I thought about him to the point I became overly attached and infatuated, unable to pull my mind away. It was really great suffering, to the point that when I was working, I could not concentrate. When people talked to me, I was distracted. Whenever I was free, I would sink into infatuation, even though I knew it was miserable and tormenting.
One day, my Mum was talking to me at home, and as usual, I sank in my infatuation, such that I didn’t even know what she was talking about.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, ‘Namo Guanshiyin Pusa’ (南无观世音菩萨: Homage to [and refuge for life in] Guanshiyin Bodhisattva) started to play in the air. As I was too infatuated, I definitely wasn’t reciting her name. The name of Guanshiyin Pusa was sung by the clear voice of a middle-aged woman with a beautiful tune. The tune was not any of the usual ones we often hear. I had never heard it before.
The singing was not the kind that played continuously in your mind by itself after you listened to a Nianfo player (Buddha name chanting device) for some time. The music seems to come from the external environment, but only I could hear it, and yet, I couldn’t pinpoint the source. My Mum was oblivious to the sound, because she just kept on talking.
The singing was so beautiful that I snapped out of my infatuation once I heard it, and listened in wonder. After some time, the singing faded. But from that point onwards, until one day later, my mind was very calm and peaceful, not disturbed by the infatuation. Eventually, I pulled myself out from this evil mental habit.
Regine (name changed for privacy)
The following explanations apply to mindfulness of any Buddha (such as Amituofo: Amitabha Buddha) and any other Bodhisattva too.
The phenomenon described is called ‘heavenly music filling the sky’ (天乐盈空). This is when Buddhist chants, often that of the names of Buddhas or Bodhisattvas pervade the environment clearly and externally, sometimes by a singular or group voices in unison. Yet, its stereo surround sound’s source cannot be pinpointed, as it fills the space around.
Since with extraordinary clarity, beauty and out-of-this-world uniqueness, when heard, with its calm and clear effects, one immediately knows it is not from self-hallucination. In this case, it is clearly so as the mind was too attached to a distracting thought to create such a different experience at the same time.
Who was it that chanted the name? As the source was unseen, it is hard to tell. However, we know it is of heavenly or enlightened origin due to its effects. Even if not from Guanshiyin Bodhisattva herself, the chanting clearly represented and reminded mindfulness of her.
Usually, it is from mindfulness of a Buddha or Bodhisattva through the name, that connects accordingly, for such auspicious experiences to occur. However, in this case, there was no mindfulness of the Bodhisattva just before her name was heard. Yet, everything can still be explained by cause and effect.
She must have had enough karmic affinity (or strong enough connection) with the Bodhisattva in everyday life already, for this reminder to stay connected to arise. This connection could have been nurtured in a past life and/or this present life (too). As different beings have different kinds of affinities, not all can experience the phenomenon even if at the same place and time.
This is an encouraging reminder that all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are looking out for us all the time, trying to connect us to them. Even if this case was a heavenly being’s effort as a Dharma Protector god, as she functioned like a Bodhisattva, the purpose is the same. The enlightened are always doing their best to help us, but we must help ourselves to be helped too by increasing our connections to them with sincere, diligent and regular Nianfo practice (of mindfulness of Buddha or Bodhisattva through their names).
The more connected we are to them in everyday lives, the more easily can they connect to us, and the more easily can others connect us to them too. This was a case of not someone doing Nianfo to connect there and then, but being triggered to Nianfo to connect there and then. Just as we can take the initiative to help others, others can take the initiative to help us too. What we need to nurture is the cause to be as help-able as we can.
Being led to hear the name of the Bodhisattva immediately led to sincere mindfulness of her, which swiftly gave rise to clear effects of peace and bliss that had relatively lasting effects. This exemplifies how Nianfo is able to lessen and even rid the troubling three poisons of greed (by transforming it to purity), hatred (by transforming it to joy) and delusion (by transforming it to wisdom). Experience of this increases faith too.
With adequate practice of sincere Nianfo of Amituofo with the Three Provisions (of Faith, Aspiration and Practice) in everyday life, encouraging experiences similar to the above can occur during emergencies and on the deathbed too. Even without adequate practice in everyday life, if there is adequate Nianfo practice when dying or even recently deceased (before being reborn), ideally with support-chanting, Amituofo can also be connected to, to reach his Pure Land. The above case was in effect, an example of support-chanting being offered to the living! It reminds of Nianfo’s powerful effects when done sincerely – be it for oneself or others!
Amituofo’s Wake-Up Call