Chapter 15: Appendix II – Advantages of Chanting the Virtues of the Buddha
I have noticed that people like to go to see fortunetellers if they experience bad times and perform ceremonies to free themselves of their “bad luck”. I have looked into this and sometimes it does indeed seem that our lives are fraught with “bad luck”, but I have devised this little chanting booklet, and I tell my followers to chant every day the virtues of the Buddha (Buddhaguna) once for each year of their lives and then one more, in order to improve their mindfulness. It has proved to be effective. The chanting begins with “Namo”, then the going for refuge to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, followed by the recollection of the virtues of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, then the Bahum and Mahaka chants. Having done that, one must then come back to the virtues of the Buddha (Buddhaguna) and chant only that once for each year of one’s age, and then one more. If you are 40 years old, for example, you chant it 41 times. If you are 35, you chant it 36 times.
There was one Christian lady who lived in Lad Prao (Bangkok). She was 51 years old. She was a widow and had one son. She was very wealthy, and had a lot of land in Bangkok. Most of the land by Klong Saen Saep up to Lad Prao belonged to her, hundreds of rai. She had sold a lot of it for hundreds of millions of Baht. Her son did not apply himself to his studies. She had sent him overseas to study for a degree in America, but he didn’t do any good with it. All he did was buy himself a car and fool around for three years. He wrote to his mother that he was studying and was almost finished, and could he have another 100,000, another 500,000?
In the end she didn’t know where to go or who to turn to. The fortunetellers said she had to pay money to do the right ceremonies so that her son would appy himself to h is studies. She gave them the money, they did their ceremonies, but her son was the same as before. It just so happened there was a man from Singhburi who worked for her. One day they went together to Nakhon Sawan, and on the way, thinking that I may be able to help, he suggested they make a visit to my temple. She didn’t want to go, but he feigned a stomachache and said he had to go to the toilet, so they came in. The man actually went to the toilet. Then he came to see me and asked me to help. At that time I didn’t know she was a Christian. He said, “Please help her, she only has one son. She lends me money often”. I said, let me see her first. He brought her in to see me, and she told me, “My son has gone to study in America, but he’s gotten nowhere. I’ve just found out that he has not obtained his degree, but has simply been taking all the Thai students around getting them into trouble. I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Is there any way you can help?’ Just looking at her face I could tell that her son would definitely get a Master’s degree, and then go on to get a doctorate, but why was he failing in this studies?
The method : I told her, “Patron, you must chant, chant the virtues of the Buddha 52 times a day.” At that time she was 51 years old. She said, “I can’t chant, I’m a Christian.” So that day nothing came of it, she couldn’t do it. It was 4 or 5 months before she came back, I could remember her face. This time no-one brought her along, she came of her own accord, with two friends. She said, “I give up.” I said, “Do it this way, Patron. Go out and buy a chanting book.” “I don’t want to have a chanting book in the house, can’t you just write it out for me? So I had to write it out. Later I got tired of writing out the chanting and had it printed up in leaflet form.
“Here, the Buddhaguna, Dhammaguna, Sanghaguna, Bahum and Mahaka.”
“I don’t bow to Buddha statues, can I chant this?” “At your bed, just chant it there.” “But I don’t know how to chant.” “Just read it.” “And how will I know when I’ve reached 52 times” “Use match sticks, throw one down for each time. Just start doing it.
I don’t bow to Buddha statues, can I chant this?”
“At your bed, just chant it there.”
“But I don’t know how to chant.”
“Just read it.”
“And how will I know when I’ve reached 52 times”
“Use match sticks, throw one down for each time. Just start doing it.
So she made up her mind to give it a try. I said, “When you’ve finished the chanting, spread thoughts of loving-kindness to your son. Don’t abuse him, don’t swear at him. Just wish that he attain all the is good, attain happiness and complete his studies successfully.”
In three months she could chant it all fluently. After a while she didn’t even have to use the match sticks. Two results came of this:
First, her nervous disorder disappeared, she could eat and sleep peacefully and was more cheerful. Being able to sleep soundly, her mind was happier. She began to feel that the good results of her actions she had dedicated to her son were getting to him. When a mother sends a dedication of merit to her son she knows it. Her son had been living extravagantly, he kept on asking for money from his mother without so much as a thought for her kindness. That day her dedication of merits reached him. It was six months after she had begun to chant. I wrote it down. That day her son had taken a group of Thai students for a drive, when the car crashed into a lamppost. His friends in the back seat were thrown out of the car, and none of them died or were hurt, but he was crushed into the lamppost. The post overturned, and they had to pay a lot in damages. He was flattened onto the steering wheel and went into a coma and had to go to hospital. Fortunately one of his cousins was a doctor in America. He went to visit, and it seemed that the patient had little chance of surviving. He was on oxygen. The American doctors said he was a goner.
The following day, he opened his eyes and realized he had survived, but he knew he was seriously hurt. He felt like he was going to die, and the tears streamed down his face. He missed his mother. People are like this, it’s only when they’re suffering that they think of their mothers. While they’re running around having a good time they don’t have a thought for their mothers. Even older people, eighty years old, on their death beds and almost on their last breaths, go a little delirious and start asking for their mothers, even if they’ve been dead for years.
Secondly, the son started to miss his mother a lot. “If mother found out that I haven’t been studying how disappointed she would be!” He determined to try to finish his studies as soon as he recovered. When the mother found out she was so happy she came to the Wat and offered a meal.
Eventually when the son had come back from America she brought him here, I gave him a Buddha amulet. He revealed what had happened. After he got well, he began to chant and practice meditation at the Thai Wat in America and studied insight meditation. He finished a B.A. and a M.A. and I knew he would get his Ph.D. as well.
This is the certain benefit arising from chanting. I tell you, children, or anybody for that matter, have to suffer before they’ll think of their mothers. As long as they haven’t met suffering, if you just keep giving them money, they spend it extravagantly and don’t spare a thought for their mothers. They have to suffer before they see the truth and see their own minds and hearts. He came and said to me. “Luang Poh, I never thought of my mother, three or four years I was in America. But in hospital I thought of her, I remembered how she made my food for me, then I came back. Then mother told me that Luang Poh had helped me.” He was filled with faith. I told him, “If you really believe me, go and have a haircut right now.” His hair was so long, down to his shoulders. So he had a haircut in Singhburi. He told me “I wasted money so badly, millions of Baht.” This was a clear example of the benefits of chanting, so I have made this little chanting booklet. If anybody is having bad luck, chant the Buddhaguna.
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