Take a look at this piece of wood: two tree trunks which have
grown together. The upper and lower parts are stuck together.
What is the reason for this? Countless eons ago, there was a man
and a woman who were very much in love. Together they made these
vows, "In heaven may we be like two birds tied together to the
same wing, and on earth may our roots intertwine." For this man
and woman, it was love at first sight, and they got married.
They had the same hobby: money. The man did whatever he could to
earn the money, and the woman did her best to spend it, and they
busied themselves with the game of making money and spending it.
But they were so much in love, and the
offenses they created were so serious, that in life after life
they sank lower and lower, falling into the realm of the
animals, then into the realm of the hungry ghosts, and then into
the hells. Now they have already turned into plants. This piece
of wood was originally two separate tree trunks, but they have
grown together and become hopelessly intertwined. You see? The
left trunk is stretching out a branch to embrace the right
trunk, and the right trunk is extending a branch to grasp the
left one. It's just like a man and woman holding out their arms
and hugging each other. From this, one can see that even in the
form of trees, they cannot renounce the habit of infatuation
carried over from their former lives! In addition, there is a
little stone lodged between the two trunks, and they cherish it
as a precious gem. What is it? It's their bank account book from
One day several years ago, we went to
speak the Dharma by the creek in the City, and we found this
piece of wood. Look at it: the top of these tree trunks have
been chopped off and the roots have also been severed. Only the
exposed, dried up branches are left, and yet they are still
stuck together like glue. Wouldn't you say this is pitiful?
This shows how dangerous it is to love
too deeply. It's not all fun and games. Someone might be
thinking, "Dharma Master, I simply cannot believe the Dharma you
speak. You have no proof to back it up, and there's no logic
behind it. Probably you're just putting us on as if we were
children. It's just dream talk." Whether you believe or not is
up to you, because I have no way to make you believe it. This
Dharma is very difficult to speak. When people are confused by
love, no matter how you try to wake them up, they cannot accept
it. The thing that harms people most in the world is deep love
and heavy emotion, and the most exalted thing is cultivating the
way of purity. It's not that people don't know this. They know
it, yet deliberately go against it, unable to extricate
themselves from habits accumulated throughout countless eons.
There's a Chinese proverb: "He holds on
to a piece of dung; and if you try to give him a delicious
doughnut, he won't relinquish the dung for the doughnut." That's
like a person who hangs on tightly to his love. You tell him,
"Throw away that dirty thing. Cultivation is worth a lot more!"
But he obstinately holds on and refuses to turn around. So it's
Although the rain from the heavens is vast,
It's difficult to nourish grass that has no roots.
Although the gate of Buddhism is wide,
It's difficult to save people who have no faith.
I have kept this piece of wood for a long
time, and I don't show it to most people, because if I spoke
this dharma, they wouldn't believe it. I had to wait until the
time and conditions were ripe. On October 24, when all of you
came from afar to visit, I brought this piece of wood to the
Buddha-hall, but didn't talk about it for about three weeks. If
I didn't tell you today, maybe there wouldn't be any more time.
So I don't care whether you believe or not; I have explained to
you the causes and conditions behind this piece of wood.
A talk given on the evening of November 12,
at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas