Those in government should love the people as their own children.
Today many people have gathered here for the Memorial Ceremony for the Venerable Master Hua's Completion of Stillness. To remember this Great Master of our time, I think the most important purpose is to memorialize the Venerable Master's great contributions to Buddhism, humankind, society, and cultural development, so that future generations will be able to learn from and follow his guidance and example.
I will not say too much about the Master's life, since all of you know more than I do. The Venerable Master's greatest contribution was to take Buddhism, which had come eastwards from India to China, to the West again. Upon receiving the Dharma transmission from the Venerable Master Hsu Yun and becoming the ninth generation patriarch of the Weiyang Sect, he went to Hong Kong where he built temples and spread the Dharma. Over ten years later, he went alone to the United States. In San Francisco, he began propagating the Buddha's teachings and receiving disciples, including the first group of young Americans who left home with him. He also led delegations to various universities and countries to spread the Dharma.
The first time I had the honor of meeting the Venerable Master was in July 1992, after I came to America to study the legal system. On July 4, I went to visit the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Ukiah. I was told that there had been an insufficient water supply when the City was first established, but that the Master told them to dig a well at a certain spot and a source of clear, good quality spring water was found. I was given a tour of the City's facilities and also treated to lunch there.
That afternoon I went to the San Francisco Bay Area and met with the Venerable Master at the International Translation Institute. The first thing I said was, "I have not studied Buddhism at all, so I hope the Venerable Master will kindly instruct me." The Master said, "Although we are meeting for the first time, I have heard that you are a faithful follower of the teachings of Confucius and Mencius...Actually, the principles of Buddhism and Confucianism are the same." Then he instructed me on how to rectify the mind, make the intent sincere, cultivate one's mind, and manage the household. He warned against the American welfare system, saying that excessive welfare has spoiled Americans and
made them lazy, and that it has also undermined the family. He also told me that the government in mainland China is presently taking the wrong direction and that their policies will not work. This is what I recorded in my diary from my first meeting with the Master.
The second time I saw the Venerable Master was in January of 1993 when he came to Taiwan to propagate the Dharma. That day, Advisors Zhunqiu Huang and Surong Liang and I were scheduled to have lunch with the Master. However the Master had asked me to arrive forty minutes or an hour early. Accordingly, I went to Huamao Restaurant to see the Master. He gave me much advice that day:
1. Everyone seeks benefit. Politics is very realistic. Make sure to satisfy every citizen's needs in a fair and reasonable way.
2. If you want to become established, you should help other people become established. If you want to understand, you should help other people to understand. Honesty is the basis for unity. People should not fight, nor should they covet fame and position.
3. Those in government should love the people as their own children.
4. The situation of Taiwan is similar to that of the Southern Song dynasty, when the government was confined to Ling An, enjoying a partial peace and neglecting to work hard. The Master said, "Director Lin (I had not yet resigned as the Director of the Legislative Assembly then), I hope you work extra hard on behalf of your country and fellow citizens!"
These are the exhortations the Master gave me, based on what I recorded in my diary.
I have two volumes of the Venerable Master's instructional talks at home. The Master's teachings are extremely meaningful to the people of today, for example, "Don't face Guanshiyin and fail to recognize him. Guanshiyin is right in everyone's heart." The Master also said, "If you do what a Buddha does, you are a Buddha. Doing a Bodhisattva's deeds, you're a Bodhisattva; and doing a ghost's deeds, you are a ghost. Whether you are a Buddha or a ghost depends on yourself, on what you do." Everyone should reflect deeply on this teaching. Aside from translating many Buddhist scriptures and propagating Buddhism in various parts of the world, what is even more remarkable is that the Venerable Master, with his expansive and far-reaching view of the world, opened the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas as an international religious center where all religions are encouraged to communicate and work together in the pursuit of truth and world peace. His admirable spirit far surpassed that of an ordinary religious leader.
As I take part in this memorial ceremony today, I am filled with regret, because in June of last year, the Master told someone to ask me if I could visit him again in America that October. Because I was very busy and assumed the Master would live to be a hundred, I didn't go, thus missing the opportunity to hear personal instructions from the Master again.