Who are the worthy ones? They are people with virtue and talent. When we meet worthy people, we should learn from them and strive to be as virtuous, refined, learned, and cultured as they are. We shouldn’t just think about it; we should work hard and really try to emulate them. Their every word and deed is a good example for us. But if we only think about their example without trying to emulate it, it won’t be of any use. Only through diligent study can we be a great hero, a great Dharma Master.
A hero is not a simpleton or a fool. Someone may say,
“Well, he may be a salty [pronounced the same as ‘worthy’ in Chinese] person, but that’s got nothing to do with it. If he’s a salty person, I want to be a bland person.” This kind of a bland and flavorless person doesn’t care about anything; he just eats his food and waits to die, thinking,
“After I die, I can forget about everything!” That is the attitude of a lazy, good-for-nothing bum.
A talk given on August 13, 1983,
in the Hall of No Words at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas