法界佛教总会.DRBA Logo

Venerable Master Hua’s Talks on Dharma Volume Nine

化老和尚开示 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.

你想要修行吗?“未到时候哩!” 你想修行吗?“多等一会吧!” 总是拖延:“等多几年,小孩子长大了才算。” “多等几年,孩子结了婚才算。” “等我见到孙子才说吧!” “等孙子结了婚才算。” “我还未看到曾孙哩!” 这样那里有完的一天?你们不要被世上虚假的快乐迷住了,所谓

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:



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.

给子孙留钱愈多,愈容易惹出大祸;给子孙留钱不多,反而没有这么多麻烦。所以又说:   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,
“有子强如父,留财做什么?有子不如父,留钱做什么?”   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,你留钱给他做什么?子女若不如父,留钱给他,让他去吃喝嫖赌,放逸无度,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,迷悟天渊”,我们的心性和佛本是一体,迷与悟却有天渊之别。“静然思之,岂不可耻?”我们只懂得挂儿挂女,不会挂佛挂菩萨。没有人心里惦念佛菩萨多辛苦,只懂得为自己子女劳碌奔波,供他们读大学,考博士学位,将来出人头地,做个大老板,那时候我有私家车出入,吃得好,住得好,尽情享受。   "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,则性德方显。”当你修行有德时,什么智慧、神通都自然显现出来。所以说:   "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:
“聪明乃是阴骘助,阴骘引入聪明路。 不信阴骘使聪明,聪明反被聪明误。”   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.
阴骘,就是人家见不到的功德,无形无相的好事,例如你默默地帮助他人,不要人知道,不居功。所谓:            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,恶恐人知,便是大恶。”   The goodness that we make known      is not true goodness. The evil that we fear will leak out is great evil.
不用到处去卖广告,说:“你知道吗?泰国哪间庙是我造的,新加坡哪座桥是我修的,香港哪个宝塔是我盖的。”   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?"
可是怎么知道你的钱来历如何,是否干净?或者你偷来、骗来的,那就功不补过了。佛,是你欺骗不来的;不可以造了罪业,然后到庙里说:“佛老爷,我送你一点钱,贿赂贿赂你,你能消我的罪吗? ”佛不是这样的。   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.
所以经文上说:“不辜佛化,不负己灵。”就是这个意思。   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开示    A talk given on December 8, 1979

法界佛教总会 . DRBA / BTTS / DRBU