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Venerable Master Hua's Talks on the Dharma in 1993 in Taiwan

化老和尚开示 Lectures by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua




◎章白华  辑  Compiled by  Zhang  Baihua


During his visit to Taiwan this time, Venerable Master Hua gave earnest advice and suggestions to people from various professions who had different questions. His instructions always went straight to the heart of their questions, motivating them to reflect deeply.


On Cultivation:



A nun from Xinju: My whole body is afflicted with illness. What should I do?

The Venerable Master: This body is false. A cultivator should not seek to be without sickness for even one day. Without sickness, one's greed and desire arise.



Two left-home people: How can we eradicate our karmic obstacles?

The Venerable Master: If you have no temper, you will have no karmic obstacles.



A businessman: How can we constantly keep the mind in a state of unmoving thusness?

Answer: To be "thus" means to be in accord with the Dharma, which is to say, to do things according to the regulations. Not to be in accord with the Dharma means doing things without following the rules. Thusness is unmoving; only if we are unmoving can we reach the state of thusness. If we are not unmoving, then we can't even talk about "thusness."



A doctor of Chinese medicine asked: Would the Master please compassionately give us some instructions?

Answer: Recite the Buddha's name more!



How can we support and protect Buddhism?

Answer: Those of you who want to support and protect Buddhism should look into things calmly. You should proceed if it is the Way, and retreat if it is not. Sometimes you create merit and virtue by donating money, but sometimes you commit offenses by giving money. You should think it over carefully. A left-home person cannot have money. Once he has money, he will become unruly. If you "help" him [by giving him money], he will just go eat, drink, visit prostitutes, and gamble. If he gets enough money, he will go back to laylife. If you do not "help" him, he will still cultivate. This is especially true when he is staying all by himself. If he has enough food to eat, that will do.


The Master's view on building temples:


The Venerable Master said: Building temples is not as good as training people. Training people is not as good as creating Buddhas. If a temple is built but there is no one to take care of it, it will be a waste. I'm not opposed to building temples, but I'm telling the truth. I approve of building big temples, but I don't approve of building small temples. I want to "tear down small temples and build big temples." Wherever there is no temple, I'll go and build one.


Advice to entrepreneurs:



An entrepreneur: We are now doing business in Taiwan; what do you think the political situation will be like? If we make investments in mainland China, what will be the outcome?

Answer: Those of you who do business in Taiwan should love your country and be loyal to your country. Use the wisdom that you have in doing business to help your country. There are many people in Taiwan with tremendous fortunes, but none of them really love their country. The people of Taiwan are making investments in mainland China not out of a sense of patriotism, but as a means of exploiting the opportunity to make more profit. During this unusual time, those who think they can make a profit without putting in any capital risk the danger of getting nothing at all in return. The political situation of the Communists will also change. Once the Communist Party is gone, the investors may end up greatly disappointed, because the inconsistent policies there are such that "orders issued in the morning are often changed by the evening."


Right now, Taiwan's situation can be compared to a precarious heap of eggs. When it collapses, all the eggs will be broken. You businessmen should be concerned about your own country. If you go to the mainland to do business, you will make money in the beginning, but eventually you will lose everything. So you shouldn't put all your efforts into doing business in the mainland. Since it is Communist country, we should try to help it out. Its inconsistent policies have kept the people in a state of fear.


The Master's view of the political situation:



Q: Why do you say that Taiwan's situation now is like that of the Southern Song dynasty in Ling An?

A: During the Ling An period, the generals and ministers didn't get along well, so eventually the country fell apart. Now, in this small place, two parties are vying for power and profit. The Progessive Party and the Nationalist Party are fighting with each other and contending in a very rude way. If the people in high position like to fight, the people below will be even worse. In fact, anything gained by fighting will be lost in the same way. Even within the Nationalist Party, people are as antagonistic as fire and water, mutually trying to subvert each other, usurping power for themselves, and depriving others of their rights. If they do not change their attitudes, they will not have any bright future to speak of. Taiwan's greatest failure right now is that the people cannot cooperate with each other. In the future, they will cause their own ruin, and the bystanders will take advantage of them. These bystanders are not referring only to the Communists, but also to foreigners as well. In general, if they start quarrelling recklessly, the bystanders will easily come down on them.



Q: Then for now, how should we solve this problem?

A: We should conduct ourselves with virtue by not fighting, not being greedy, not seeking, not being selfish, not pursuing personal advantage, and not lying. These guidelines are the basis for being a human being. They are the foundation for cultivating the Way, and a standard for government. If we can follow them, we will be able to overthrow the Communist Party without using a single gun or cannon. The Communists have won their success by exploiting people's greed. They claim that they do not discriminate between the rich and the poor, but this is in name only. In reality, those in the positions of authority are so rich that their wealth is comparable to that of the national treasury. Right now, within the Communist Party, there are avaricious and corrupt officials who resort to underhanded tactics to get money in any way they can. It is as if they have thirty-six legs and more greed and aggressiveness than anyone else.


In general, if the two parties [of Taiwan] can learn to cooperate and work together, it will be good for both of them. If they continue to deprecate each other, they will just be hurting themselves. If the Progressive Party overthrows the Nationalist Party, the Progessive Party will not last long either. Unfortunately, they do not understand this. Those who fight for political reasons are just "people who have blessings but do not know how to enjoy them and who are looking for trouble where there is none." Now they are clamoring for independence [from the mainland], but this amounts to stirring rebellion in the nest and killing one's own kin. We shouldn't create divisions. If we can unite in harmony and work together in peace, then we will bring blessings to our country. If we cannot be this way and just want to protect ourselves, then we are just trying to run away from the crisis. We should not calculate for our own safety. Rather, we should be willing to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of the country.


The Master's view of himself:



Q: People generally think that you have several kinds of spiritual powers...

A: I don't acknowledge that. Things have always happened by chance. If someone is not supposed to die and he prays to me, he will not die. If someone is supposed to die, then even if he prays to me he will not live. Do you understand this?



Q: Some people say that the Master is "a monk who interferes in politics…"

A: I see that Taiwan is in great danger, like a heap of eggs about to topple over, but the people are still not aware of it. I'm a Chinese, and so I cannot help but be concerned about this matter. Even the authorities cannot stop me from saying what I want to say. This time I am saying that the situation in Taiwan is similar to that of the Southern Song dynasty; people just see what's under their feet rather than looking at what's really in front of them.



Q: What is the Master's vow?

A: Buddhism in China has always been very conservative. However, I want to translate the Buddhist canon into English. Why are Catholicism and Protestantism so widespread? It's because the Bible has been translated into the languages of different countries. If all the Buddhist Sutras are translated into foreign languages, Buddhism will not fall behind Catholicism and Protestantism. At the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, I hope to bring all religions together in harmony, and allow each of them to hold their religious ceremonies in the temple. I believe that if we can encompass and accept them all, it will lessen the biases and discrimination among them.


The Master's hopes for Taiwan:


I hope that the people of Taiwan, regardless of what religion they believe in, will base themselves upon the principles of their respective religions and learn to be good people. Everyone should cherish himself and refrain from breaking the laws. One should cherish one's family and not allow it to break up. Those who work in government should be loyal to their country and be willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their country. However, this does not mean fighting in the name of the country.


法界佛教总会 . DRBA / BTTS / DRBU