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Venerable Master Hua’s Talks on Dharma Volume Nine

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



Can Catastrophes Be Averted?

Although it's said that fixed karma cannot be altered,
with the power of samadhi even limitless offenses can be dispelled.



Cultivators should not be selfish, nor should they act only to protect themselves. They should work to benefit the whole world, putting personal interests aside. Instead of being enthralled with their own achievements, they should consider the big picture.


Mr. Dachuan Hu's "Fantasy Poem" says it well:


Bobbing up and down, We lack a strong resolve for the Way. Caught up in worldly entanglements, We feel sorry for ourselves. There is no paradise within the four seas; What place is there in the nine heavens To set our sorrows aside?


Bobbing up and down, we lack a strong resolve for the Way. People move up and down in the world; rising when they do good deeds of merit and virtue, and falling when they create unwholesome karma. In life after life, they drift and flounder in the sea of karma; being rocked by the waves of worldly affairs, it is hard to stand firm.


Caught up in worldly entanglements,  We can only feel sorry for ourselves. Worldly affairs are like a huge net that binds people up. Fame-seekers are bound by the net of fame; money worshippers get caught in the net of wealth; and promiscuous individuals are trapped in the net of lust. In general, the net of the five desires--for wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep--confuses people and binds them so tightly that they can hardly breathe. Most people don't even know they are caught in the net, and those who do cannot escape, so they can only sigh in self-pity.

“四海应无极乐国”,举目四海,找不到一个安乐太平的地方。全世界人类都生活在恐惧之中,朝不保夕,到处都是难民,很多地方缺乏粮食、衣服,到处都有火山爆发、地震、水灾、天灾人祸,纷至沓来,这怎教人不怵目惊心呢?所以说“四海应无极乐国 ”。   There is no paradise within the four seas. Look around: you won't find a peaceful place anywhere. All of humankind lives in fear from dawn to dusk. There are refugees everywhere. In many places people lack adequate food and clothing. Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, and other natural and manmade disasters happen one after another. How could one not feel scared?
“九霄岂有寄愁天”,九霄云外,也没有一个处所来积存这么多忧愁,因为放不下这么多!在这世上,有些人认为是很快乐,其实是水深火热的樊笼。水深会把人淹死,火热会把人烧死,有什么值得留恋呢?   What place is there in the nine heavens to set our sorrows aside? There isn't any space within the nine heavens to store our cares and worries. Some people think the world is a happy place, but actually, we are in danger of being drowned or burned at any moment. Why should we be so attached to this world?
大家都知道最近华盛顿州的圣海伦火山爆发了,熔岩若堆起来,可以积迭成十二英哩那么高,灰尘遍洒到四面八方。由此观之,世上哪有安乐国呢?生在这个危险的多难之秋,各位应该赶快发菩提心,求无上道!   You have all heard of the recent eruption of Mount Saint Helens in Washington State. If the lava were piled up, it could reach as high as twelve miles. The ashes have scattered everywhere. From this eruption we can see how unsafe the world is. Living in these dangerous times, we should quickly bring forth the Bodhi resolve and seek the supreme Way.
  Why haven't there been any volcanic eruptions in California? One reason is that there are more Buddhists and more temples here. Disasters are imperceptibly transformed into auspiciousness. In 1968, astrologers, historians, prophets, and scientists in the United States all predicted that a major earthquake would occur in San Francisco that year. They said the earthquake would be so great that the entire city of San Francisco would fall into the Pacific Ocean. Fortunately, no earthquake occurred despite their predictions. There have been earthquake predictions every year since then. However, the great one hasn't happened yet.
可是最近地震恐怕真地快要降临了。为了这个原因,法界佛教总会、万佛圣城、金山圣寺、如来寺及法界佛教大学的四众弟子,除了每天的早晚课之外,每逢周六都集体诵持〈楞严咒〉,藉以祈祷消灾解厄,遇难呈祥,化地震于无形,使大的难化为小,小的化为乌有。   Recently, I have been worrying that the earthquake is really going to happen. That's why the fourfold assembly of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, Gold Mountain Monastery, Tathagata Monastery, and Dharma Realm Buddhist University has gathered together to recite the Shurangama Mantra on Saturdays. With the power of the mantra we hope to avert the earthquake, dispel danger, transform big disasters into small ones, and make small ones disappear altogether.
有人问:这种浩劫能够改变吗?当然可以改变!本来定业不可转,但是三昧加持力,能消除无量罪业。   Someone is asking, "Can catastrophes be averted?" Of course! Although it's said that fixed karma cannot be altered, with the power of samadhi even limitless offenses can be dispelled.
一九八O年六月开示 A talk given in June 1980

法界佛教总会 . DRBA / BTTS / DRBU