Sutra: Morning Recitation
Cultivators should first study the recitation ceremonies to comprehend their deeper intent. That facilitates our contemplating while reciting and upholding. We should familiarize ourselves with the liturgy. Otherwise, in the face of the various states that could arise during recitation, our minds would become scattered and we would not succeed in reaching a proper state of contemplation.
In the early morning, when the myriad states have not arisen, when our minds are quiet and tranquil, we should awaken and get dressed and immediately commence the recitation of the Shurangama Mantra of the Buddha’s Summit. This mantra serves to regulate the five desires before they have had time to arise so that our minds quickly penetrate and directly reveal the wonderful nature of the Treasury of the Thus Come One as it truly is. As it is said, “Still and unmoving, there is a response and a spontaneous penetration."
Next we go on to recite the Great Compassion Mantra, which has the ability to cleanse the mind of filth. After enlightening to the compassion of mutual identity with all things, we recite the Ten Small Mantras: we turn the Dharma Wheel with the As-You-Will Wheel King Dharani. The Disaster-Eradicating Auspicious Spirit Mantra prevents calamities and brings good fortune. That is followed with the Meritorious Virtue Jeweled Mountain Mantra. Auspiciousness in our minds, we dwell on the Mountain of the Dharma-nature and obtain the jewel of meritorious virtue. The Jwun Ti Spirit Mantra completely dispels the obstructions regarding phenomena, so that the Dharma-nature can be revealed in its fullness. Next, we intone the Sagely Resolute Light King Dharani of Limitless Life Mantra, to entreat the Thus Come One Light King to bestow wisdom-life upon us. Our wisdom-lives having come forth, we go on to intone the Medicine Master True Words for Anointing the Crown of the Head, which further enhances our wisdom so that it becomes like crystal encompassing a jeweled moon within. At this point, light pours forth, anointing the crowns of our heads. With the recitation of the Gwan Yin Efficacious Response True Words, we mesh with Gwan Yin’s efficacious ear-organ and the entire Dharma Realm, and the magical responses are boundless. The True Words of Seven Buddhas for Eradicating Offenses roots out at their very source the beginningless karma that impedes the brilliant light of our wisdom and that prevents it from shining forth. The Mantra for Rebirth in the Pure Land affects our karma, which is originally pure, as we request Anita Buddha to anoint our heads as certification that we will be reborn in the Pure Land. The last of the Ten Small Mantras, the Good Goddess Mantra culminates the sublime contemplations described above.
Together those mantras serve to quicken the wonderful functioning of the Dharma-nature and the fulfillment of our wishes. However, we should know that although we may enter a wonderful state of contemplation by reciting those mantras, they must be recited with a single-minded concentration in order for the contemplations to be actualized.
Further, to prevent us from becoming attached to those states of contemplation, the Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra is recited. That Sutra points directly to the mind’s substance in its fundamental emptiness, by proclaiming that ultimately there is no wisdom that can be obtained; even the mark of emptiness itself is empty. Thus, the state of wisdom is revealed in its entirety - not one; not many. The two extremes are eliminated and the Three Contemplations are perfectly fused.
Those twelve mantras of the Secret School and one Sutra of the Apparent Teaching share a mutual identity and are mutually encompassing.
As a means to attain actual certification, we next recite the Buddha’s name. In the recitation of one Buddha’s name, the names of all Buddhas are implied, because of the mutual inclusion of the one with the many and the perfect fusion between self and others.
Next the Ten Great Vows of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva are recited. As we recite, we should contemplate that these great vows are our own vows, and that they must direct our every thought, word, and deed throughout all time. Universal Worthy Bodhisattva’s explanation of the Ten Great Vows in Chapter 40 of the FLOWER ADORNMENT SUTRA should be studied so that we may become familiar with the vows’ meaning and scope.
Morning Recitation is concluded with the Three Refuges, as we return the merit generated from reciting the mantras and Sutra of the Secret and Apparent Teachings to the Triple Jewel of our own natures. We don’t seek refuge by relying on anything external to our own natures. The great, all-encompassing Dharma-door of the One Mind is completely manifested. In this way, everything that we encounter belongs to the Treasury of the Thus Come One.