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Venerable Master Hua’s Talks on Dharma Volume Nine

化老和尚開示 Lectures by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua



The Importance of Cultivation

Instead of thinking about how hard the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas work,
we only know how to toil for our children.



The true mind of living beings is no different from that of the Buddha's. How come the Buddha has accomplished proper enlightenment, while we are still transmigrating in the six paths? Why are we still muddled and confused, obsessed with love all day long, unable to relinquish our attachments to our spouse and our children? Why are we always caught up in the six kinds of sense perception?


Some people regard their families as far more important than studying Buddhism, and they always say, "I have my responsibilities." Well, when you die, who is going to take care of your responsibilities? Your attitude shows a confusion of priorities. If you realize that you should cultivate, just cultivate. Why have so many unnecessary concerns?


A Sutra says: "The Buddha, the World Honored One, has infinite spiritual power and wisdom." Spiritual power is itself wisdom. Wisdom guides spiritual power. Spiritual power and wisdom are two, and yet not two. If you lack wisdom, you will not have spiritual power either. These come from the adornment of merit and virtue.


"Living beings have only infinite karmic bonds and afflictions." With careful reflection, we'll see that our various relationships with people are actually karmic entanglements. Having recklessly created karmic affinities in the past, we are now dragged about by our karma. We may want to escape the Triple Realm, but our karma will not let us. We have a mixture of good and bad karma, pure and defiled karma, karma of self and of others, and right and wrong karma, and it all comes forth. Hindered by our afflictions and caught up in birth and death, we pass our days in confusion.

你想要修行嗎?「未到時候哩!」 你想修行嗎?「多等一會吧!」 總是拖延:「等多幾年,小孩子長大了才算。」 「多等幾年,孩子結了婚才算。」 「等我見到孫子才說吧!」 「等孫子結了婚才算。」 「我還未看到曾孫哩!」 這樣那埵釦鼓漱@天?你們不要被世上虛假的快樂迷住了,所謂

Do you want to cultivate? "The time isn't right." Would you like to cultivate? "I'll wait a little while." You keep procrastinating: "I'll wait a few more years until the children have grown up." "I'll wait a few more years until the children are married." "I'll wait until I see my grandchildren." "I'll wait until the grandchildren are married." "I haven't seen my great grandchildren yet." When will it ever end? Don't be taken in by the false happiness of the world. It is said,


Fame and benefit are trivial, But everybody craves them. Birth and death are important, Yet no one guards against them.


Many people worry that their children won't have money to spend, so they struggle to build an empire for them. The result:


「財也大,產也大,後世子孫膽也大,   天下事兒都不怕,不喪身家不肯罷。  財也小,產也小,後世子孫膽也小,  些些事兒自完了,子孫產小禍也少。」

When one has great wealth and property, One's descendants will have great nerve: Not afraid of anything under the sky, They won't stop until they have destroyed themselves and their families. When one has little wealth and property, One's descendants will not be so bold. Petty problems are easily solved; With modest assets, they will suffer few calamities.

給子孫留錢愈多,愈容易惹出大禍;給子孫留錢不多,反而沒有這麼多麻煩。所以又說:   The more money we leave to our children, the easier it is for them to bring great misfortunes upon themselves. The less money, the fewer the problems. It is also said,
「有子強如父,留財做什麼?有子不如父,留錢做什麼?」   If the son is more capable than the father, What need is there to leave him wealth? If the son is weaker than the father, What's the use of leaving him money?
有子女比你更有本事,你留錢給他做什麼?子女若不如父,留錢給他,讓他去吃喝嫖賭,放逸無度,反而累了他。   If your child is capable, why should you leave him money? If your child is weak, leaving him money only harms him, for he will use that money to eat, drink, be promiscuous, and gamble, generally leading a dissipated life.
「心性是一,迷悟天淵」,我們的心性和佛本是一體,迷與悟卻有天淵之別。「靜然思之,豈不可恥?」我們只懂得掛兒掛女,不會掛佛掛菩薩。沒有人心堭}念佛菩薩多辛苦,只懂得為自己子女勞碌奔波,供他們讀大學,考博士學位,將來出人頭地,做個大老闆,那時候我有私家車出入,吃得好,住得好,盡情享受。   "Although the nature of the mind is basically the same, delusion and enlightenment are as far apart as the sky and a deep abyss." Our minds are essentially the same as that of the Buddha. However, our delusion is worlds apart from the Buddha's enlightenment. "Quietly reflecting upon this, shouldn't we feel ashamed?" We are mindful of our sons and daughters, but not of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Instead of thinking about how hard the Buddhas and Bodhi­sattvas work, we only know how to toil for our children, sending them to universities so that they can earn doctorates and become super-achievers and high executives in the future. Then we will have chauffeured cars, gourmet food, fancy mansions, and all the luxury we could wish for.
「修德有功,則性德方顯。」當你修行有德時,什麼智慧、神通都自然顯現出來。所以說:   "When you accomplish the cultivation of virtue, the virtue of your nature will manifest." When you have virtue in your cultivation, your inherent wisdom and spiritual power will spontaneously manifest. There is a saying:
「聰明乃是陰騭助,陰騭引入聰明路。 不信陰騭使聰明,聰明反被聰明誤。」   Intelligence is aided by hidden virtue. Hidden virtue brings about intelligence. People who do not believe in hidden virtue Will be hindered by their own intelligence.
陰騭,就是人家見不到的功德,無形無相的好事,例如你默默地幫助他人,不要人知道,不居功。所謂:            Hidden virtue refers to acts of merit and virtue done  anonymously--invisible good deeds. This means secretly helping others without taking credit for it. It is said,
「善欲人知,不是真善,惡恐人知,便是大惡。」   The goodness that we make known      is not true goodness. The evil that we fear will leak out is great evil.
不用到處去賣廣告,說:「你知道嗎?泰國哪間廟是我造的,新加坡哪座橋是我修的,香港哪個寶塔是我蓋的。」   You don't have to advertise, "Did you know that I built a temple in Thailand, repaired a bridge in Singapore, and built a pagoda in Hong Kong?"
可是怎麼知道你的錢來歷如何,是否乾淨?或者你偷來、騙來的,那就功不補過了。佛,是你欺騙不來的;不可以造了罪業,然後到廟婸﹛G「佛老爺,我送你一點錢,賄賂賄賂你,你能消我的罪嗎? 」佛不是這樣的。   How do I know where you got your money? Is it clean money? Did you steal or cheat to obtain it? If so, your merit and virtue won't be sufficient to wipe out the offenses you committed. You cannot cheat the Buddha. You cannot go to the temple and say, "Lord Buddha, I will give you some money if you eradicate my offenses." The Buddha doesn't take bribes.
所以經文上說:「不辜佛化,不負己靈。」就是這個意思。   Therefore, a Sutra says, "Don't disappoint the Buddha, and don't let yourself down."
一九七九年十二月八日開示    A talk given on December 8, 1979

法界佛教總會 • DRBA / BTTS / DRBU