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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



Recognizing Our Inherent  Treasures

Ordinary people seek after the false and forget about the true.



Mr. Dachuan Hu has a few more lines in his "Fantasy Poem," which states things quite well:

「生不願為上柱國,死更不願作閻羅;  閻羅點鬼心殘忍,柱國憂民事更多。」

I don't wish to be a prime minister in life, Nor do I wish to be King Yama after I die. King Yama is cruel in sentencing the ghosts, And a prime minister is too busy worrying  about  his people.


He said, "While I am alive, I have no ambition to be a prime minister, and after I die I don't want to be King Yama. Why? King Yama is very cruel. When he gets angry, he dumps this little ghost into the pot of boiling oil and throws that little ghost onto the mountain of knives. I wouldn't want the job of a prime minister either, for he has to worry constantly about national affairs and has no time to rest. It's more practical for me to spend my time cultivating the inner nature and fostering its inherent virtues."The poem also says,


I hope to be free from illness for a hundred years, And not troubled by grief for even one moment.


Mr. Dachuan Hu vividly portrayed those who are fond of wine, beauty, wealth, and fame in his poem. 


He said that those who like beauty may wish: "Beautiful flowers should stay abloom every day. Flowers should bloom all year round and never wither." This also refers to a man wishing his wife would stay young forever, or a woman wishing her husband would stay handsome and never get gray hair or wrinkles.


People with big tempers may indulge in this wish: "Why can't the moon be full every night? It's so nice to sit outside and gaze at the full moon on a night when there is a gentle breeze and the stars are shining. Why can't the moon be full every night, just as the sun is full every day?"

好酒之徒又這麼想:「大地有泉皆化酒」,這個人最愛喝酒,於是他便打個妄想:「假設大地所有的川河池沼都化為酒泉,那麼每當我渴了,只要伸手往泉堣@汲,便能搯取美酒來喝--這不是最方便的辦法嗎?」   People who like wine fantasize: "What if all the springs on earth turned into wine? If all the water in the rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes became wine, I could just reach out and scoop up wine to drink whenever I felt thirsty. Wouldn't that be convenient?"
好財的人又這樣想:「長林無樹不搖錢」,他說:「假若林中的樹木,統統長滿了鈔票,要用時只須搖搖樹幹,錢便會紛紛而下,這樣不是很省事嗎?」   People who are fond of wealth think: "What if money grew on every tree in the forests? Whenever I needed money, I could just shake the trees and money would fall. That would save me a lot of trouble."
可是,這都是愚夫愚婦盲目的狂想而已。一般人只懂得求假的,而忘卻真的,都忘了我們的真如自性才是本有的家珍,是取之不盡、用之不竭的。什麼是真如自性?就是每個人本有的佛性。這個佛性,是不生不滅、不垢不淨、不增不減,圓陀陀、光灼灼,在佛的分上沒有增加一點,在眾生分上也沒有減少一點,是如如不動,了了常明的。   These thoughts are the fantasies of fools. Ordinary people seek after the false and forget about the true. They forget that their inherent true nature is an inexhaustible treasure trove. What is the inherent true nature? It's the Buddha nature within each one of us. The Buddha nature is neither created nor destroyed; it is neither defiled nor pure; and it neither increases nor diminishes. It is perfect and bright; the Buddhas do not have more of it, and living beings do not have  less of it. It is unmoving and constantly clear.
可是一般人被自私自利心所蒙蔽,加上嫉妒障礙,心眼變得比一粒微塵還要小,所以只懂得看眼前的,長遠一點的道理便不認識了。為了這個原因,所以不能返本還原。我們若能   Blinded by selfishness, greed for personal gain, jealousy, and obstructiveness, our minds have become smaller than a speck of dust. We see only what is immediately in front of us and fail to understand far-reaching principles. That's why we cannot return to the origin. As the [classical Chinese] poet Tao Yuanming said,
「悟以往之不諫,知來者之可追,實迷途其未遠,覺今是而昨非。」   We should realize that while the past has gone by, We can work on the future. If we recognize past errors And know that we are right today, Then we have not strayed too far.
我們能夠覺悟以往的過錯,便可以轉過頭來,重新做人。做新人,就是要沒有自私自利心,沒有嫉妒障礙,沒有貢高我慢。   If we realize our past mistakes, we can turn around and reform. To reform and become a new person means getting rid of selfishness, greed for personal gain, jealousy, obstructiveness, and arrogance.
修道人志願在明心見性,不是口頭上說:「我已明了心,見了性,我已經開悟了!」不是單在口頭上用功夫,而是要有真修實證。明心的人,覺得天下任何事也不困難,也不怕苦。為什麼呢?因為他已通達萬物之本體,徹法底源,所以凡事都任運自在。見性的人不憂愁,心如明鏡,又心如止水,事來則應,事去則靜,這就是最實際的證明。人沒有無明煩惱,般若智慧便現前,自然現出自性的大光明藏。   The goal of a cultivator is to understand his mind and see his nature. That doesn't mean simply saying that you understand your mind, see your nature, and are enlightened. You must have genuine achievement in your practice; don't just pay lip service. Once you understand the mind, nothing will present any difficulties. You won't fear any hardships. Why not? Because you will understand the essence of all things. You will have penetrated to the source of the Dharma. You will be free and at ease in everything you do. Once you see the nature, you won't have any worries. Your mind will be like a clear mirror or like calm water, reflecting states when they come and becoming still when they pass. This is the most genuine proof of skill. Once ignorance and afflictions are gone, prajna wisdom will manifest and the brightness of the inherent nature will shine forth.
什麼是自性的大光明藏?堶接L人相、無我相、無眾生相、無壽者相;可是,也有人相、也有我相、也有眾生相、也有壽者相。雖然無相而不滅相,有相不礙無相,無相不礙有相,有無自在,有無如如。在這個境界分上,心佛與眾生,是三無差別的。   What is the brightness of the inherent nature? It's the absence of attachment to the appearances of self, others, living beings, and life span. And yet these appearances still exist. Despite the lack of attachment to them, they are not destroyed. Appearances do not obstruct nonappearances, and nonappearances do not hinder appearances. One is free and at ease between existence and nonexistence. In this state, there is no difference between mind, Buddha, and living beings.
學佛的人,應該問問自己:「我布施是為了求名,還是為了真心修行?我持戒、忍辱、精進、禪定、修智慧,是為了要給人家看,還是為了真心修行?」修道不是戴面具,不是裝模作樣,專給人家看的。修道全靠自己用功夫,付出一分功夫,便有一分收穫;拿出一分誠心,則有一分感應。一切一切,都要真實不虛,切勿自欺欺人!願共勉之。   Students of Buddhism should ask themselves, "Am I practicing giving just to make myself look good? Am I holding precepts and practicing patience, vigor, samadhi, and wisdom just to show off? Or am I really sincere about cultivating?" Cultivation doesn't mean putting on a show for others. It requires genuine effort. For every bit of effort we put in, we gain a corresponding bit of skill. For every bit of sincerity we muster, we obtain a bit of response. We must be completely true in all we do. We shouldn't cheat ourselves or others. Instead, we should mutually encourage one another.
一九八O年六月十五日開示    A talk given on June 15, 1980

法界佛教總會 • DRBA / BTTS / DRBU