During this delegation's visit to Taiwan, many people were extremely sad and tearful as they respectfully welcomed the Venerable Master's sharira. As we are gathered here today under these circumstances, I would like to very briefly express my own feelings in remembrance of the Master.
The Venerable Master gave his entire life to propagating the Dharma for the sake of living beings, not sparing blood or sweat and never pausing to rest. He told us,
In this world, there are too few who understand the Buddhadharma and too few who understand "non-Dharma." If we truly understand the Buddhadharma, then we should not act in a worldly way.
Before he went to the West, the Master made great vows to go the West and to create living Buddhas, living Patriarchs, living Bodhisattvas, and living Arhats. We have heard the Master say that even Hearers, Pratyekabuddhas, and Bodhi-sattvas cannot comprehend his realm of being. And I think it would be impossible for a mere Bodhisattva to make a living Buddha out of someone. Therefore, whether we have drawn near the Master for a long time or have only heard of and admired the Master's virtue, we should not be sad. As long as we resolve to cultivate the Way, to deeply enter the Sutra treasury, and to change our faults, we will never be apart from the Master. The Master completely knows every person's heart. If you vow to become a sage, you will certainly achieve your vow. But if you indulge in the five desires and cannot decrease your ignorance, then you still haven't recognized a wise teacher.
The Master labored all his life to promote education, establish temples, and propagate Buddhism, all because he wanted to lead us onto the path to ending birth and death and becoming Buddhas. He renounced himself for the sake of the Dharma. Each of us who is fortunate enough to be the Master's disciple should remember what the Master told us: Everyone must go some day; if we are resolved in our practice, then it will be as if he is still here.
The seeds of Buddhism that the Master planted in the West in 1962 have already sprouted and borne fruit. The flourishing of Buddhism depends on each and every one of us. We must integrate the Dharma into our daily lives and turn the Dharma wheel in our own selves.
If we still have a bad temper, afflictions, and many desires, then we don't understand the Buddhadharma and we cannot practice it. From following the Master, I have learned that everything is an illusory state, a test to see if we are able to practice the teachings and conduct ourselves properly. If we have the tiniest bit of evil within the good that we do, then the outcome will not be true.
Wherever he went, the Master spoke the true Dharma－the Dharma for becoming a Buddha, in the hope that left-home people would follow the Buddha's rules. Those who didn't follow the Buddha's rules found this completely unacceptable. Many people have made time in their busy schedules at work and at home to come here today; but there are also many people who did not come. If we can remember the Master's teachings and the spirit he conveyed, we will benefit by it. Those who cannot accept the Proper Dharma can only flounder in the sea of suffering.
I hope everyone will listen well to the sounds of the Master's Dharma. We must listen to his Dharma sounds on tape since we can no longer hear him in person. The Master's every lecture is so all-encompassing in spirit; he hoped everyone would understand the ideal of compassion in Buddhism. I hope each of us will earnestly practice the Dharma that the Master introduced to us. Even though his body is gone, the Master is always with us, for empty space is everywhere. Whether you are in this auditorium, in your home, at your office, or on the crowded street, the Master is always with you, watching you with kindly eyes to see if you are fighting, greedy, seeking, selfish, wanting to benefit yourself, or lying. He has told us that all states are false. It all depends on whether we have the mind of a Buddha, a demon, or a hungry ghost.
The Guiding Master subdues the multitudes of demons,
He is courageous, strong, and invincible.
Within the light he proclaims the wonderful meaning.
He is this way because of his kindness and compassion.
Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter Nine, Light Enlightenment