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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



Recognizing Our Inherent  Treasures

Ordinary people seek after the false and forget about the true.



Mr. Dachuan Hu has a few more lines in his "Fantasy Poem," which states things quite well:


I don't wish to be a prime minister in life, Nor do I wish to be King Yama after I die. King Yama is cruel in sentencing the ghosts, And a prime minister is too busy worrying  about  his people.


He said, "While I am alive, I have no ambition to be a prime minister, and after I die I don't want to be King Yama. Why? King Yama is very cruel. When he gets angry, he dumps this little ghost into the pot of boiling oil and throws that little ghost onto the mountain of knives. I wouldn't want the job of a prime minister either, for he has to worry constantly about national affairs and has no time to rest. It's more practical for me to spend my time cultivating the inner nature and fostering its inherent virtues."The poem also says,


I hope to be free from illness for a hundred years, And not troubled by grief for even one moment.


Mr. Dachuan Hu vividly portrayed those who are fond of wine, beauty, wealth, and fame in his poem. 


He said that those who like beauty may wish: "Beautiful flowers should stay abloom every day. Flowers should bloom all year round and never wither." This also refers to a man wishing his wife would stay young forever, or a woman wishing her husband would stay handsome and never get gray hair or wrinkles.


People with big tempers may indulge in this wish: "Why can't the moon be full every night? It's so nice to sit outside and gaze at the full moon on a night when there is a gentle breeze and the stars are shining. Why can't the moon be full every night, just as the sun is full every day?"

好酒之徒又这么想:“大地有泉皆化酒”,这个人最爱喝酒,于是他便打个妄想:“假设大地所有的川河池沼都化为酒泉,那么每当我渴了,只要伸手往泉里一汲,便能搯取美酒来喝--这不是最方便的办法吗?”   People who like wine fantasize: "What if all the springs on earth turned into wine? If all the water in the rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes became wine, I could just reach out and scoop up wine to drink whenever I felt thirsty. Wouldn't that be convenient?"
好财的人又这样想:“长林无树不摇钱”,他说:“假若林中的树木,统统长满了钞票,要用时只须摇摇树干,钱便会纷纷而下,这样不是很省事吗?”   People who are fond of wealth think: "What if money grew on every tree in the forests? Whenever I needed money, I could just shake the trees and money would fall. That would save me a lot of trouble."
可是,这都是愚夫愚妇盲目的狂想而已。一般人只懂得求假的,而忘却真的,都忘了我们的真如自性才是本有的家珍,是取之不尽、用之不竭的。什么是真如自性?就是每个人本有的佛性。这个佛性,是不生不灭、不垢不净、不增不减,圆陀陀、光灼灼,在佛的分上没有增加一点,在众生分上也没有减少一点,是如如不动,了了常明的。   These thoughts are the fantasies of fools. Ordinary people seek after the false and forget about the true. They forget that their inherent true nature is an inexhaustible treasure trove. What is the inherent true nature? It's the Buddha nature within each one of us. The Buddha nature is neither created nor destroyed; it is neither defiled nor pure; and it neither increases nor diminishes. It is perfect and bright; the Buddhas do not have more of it, and living beings do not have  less of it. It is unmoving and constantly clear.
可是一般人被自私自利心所蒙蔽,加上嫉妒障碍,心眼变得比一粒微尘还要小,所以只懂得看眼前的,长远一点的道理便不认识了。为了这个原因,所以不能返本还原。我们若能   Blinded by selfishness, greed for personal gain, jealousy, and obstructiveness, our minds have become smaller than a speck of dust. We see only what is immediately in front of us and fail to understand far-reaching principles. That's why we cannot return to the origin. As the [classical Chinese] poet Tao Yuanming said,
“悟以往之不谏,知来者之可追,实迷途其未远,觉今是而昨非。”   We should realize that while the past has gone by, We can work on the future. If we recognize past errors And know that we are right today, Then we have not strayed too far.
我们能够觉悟以往的过错,便可以转过头来,重新做人。做新人,就是要没有自私自利心,没有嫉妒障碍,没有贡高我慢。   If we realize our past mistakes, we can turn around and reform. To reform and become a new person means getting rid of selfishness, greed for personal gain, jealousy, obstructiveness, and arrogance.
修道人志愿在明心见性,不是口头上说:“我已明了心,见了性,我已经开悟了!”不是单在口头上用功夫,而是要有真修实证。明心的人,觉得天下任何事也不困难,也不怕苦。为什么呢?因为他已通达万物之本体,彻法底源,所以凡事都任运自在。见性的人不忧愁,心如明镜,又心如止水,事来则应,事去则静,这就是最实际的证明。人没有无明烦恼,般若智慧便现前,自然现出自性的大光明藏。   The goal of a cultivator is to understand his mind and see his nature. That doesn't mean simply saying that you understand your mind, see your nature, and are enlightened. You must have genuine achievement in your practice; don't just pay lip service. Once you understand the mind, nothing will present any difficulties. You won't fear any hardships. Why not? Because you will understand the essence of all things. You will have penetrated to the source of the Dharma. You will be free and at ease in everything you do. Once you see the nature, you won't have any worries. Your mind will be like a clear mirror or like calm water, reflecting states when they come and becoming still when they pass. This is the most genuine proof of skill. Once ignorance and afflictions are gone, prajna wisdom will manifest and the brightness of the inherent nature will shine forth.
什么是自性的大光明藏?里面无人相、无我相、无众生相、无寿者相;可是,也有人相、也有我相、也有众生相、也有寿者相。虽然无相而不灭相,有相不碍无相,无相不碍有相,有无自在,有无如如。在这个境界分上,心佛与众生,是三无差别的。   What is the brightness of the inherent nature? It's the absence of attachment to the appearances of self, others, living beings, and life span. And yet these appearances still exist. Despite the lack of attachment to them, they are not destroyed. Appearances do not obstruct nonappearances, and nonappearances do not hinder appearances. One is free and at ease between existence and nonexistence. In this state, there is no difference between mind, Buddha, and living beings.
学佛的人,应该问问自己:“我布施是为了求名,还是为了真心修行?我持戒、忍辱、精进、禅定、修智慧,是为了要给人家看,还是为了真心修行?”修道不是戴面具,不是装模作样,专给人家看的。修道全靠自己用功夫,付出一分功夫,便有一分收获;拿出一分诚心,则有一分感应。一切一切,都要真实不虚,切勿自欺欺人!愿共勉之。   Students of Buddhism should ask themselves, "Am I practicing giving just to make myself look good? Am I holding precepts and practicing patience, vigor, samadhi, and wisdom just to show off? Or am I really sincere about cultivating?" Cultivation doesn't mean putting on a show for others. It requires genuine effort. For every bit of effort we put in, we gain a corresponding bit of skill. For every bit of sincerity we muster, we obtain a bit of response. We must be completely true in all we do. We shouldn't cheat ourselves or others. Instead, we should mutually encourage one another.
一九八O年六月十五日开示    A talk given on June 15, 1980

法界佛教总会 . DRBA / BTTS / DRBU