Because I was involved in the design of Way-places, I had the opportunity to draw near the Venerable Master. I came to see how the Venerable Master always contemplated the potentials and bestowed teachings, and to understand what the Sutras mean by
“speaking the Dharma according to the situation.”
The first time I brought some architectural drawings to show to and discuss with the Venerable Master, the Master held the drawings upside-down. He seemed to be looking and yet not looking at them. He seemed to understand and yet not understand them. I thought to myself,
“Why is the Master acting this way?” The Master ignored me, and as he looked at them he said,
“There are no fixed dharmas!”
That startling statement chased all my doubts away! Whenever I think of this, it reminds me of how when Chan Master Xiangyan was suddenly enlightened, he bowed to the Elder One of Mount Wei and said,
“O greatly compassionate Master, your kindness is greater than that of my parents!” How true his words are!
Afterwards, I had several discussions with the Venerable Master regarding the size, location, structure, and other aspects of the Jewelled Palace of Great Heroes. The Master gave instructions on each of these aspects. One day, the architect brought a radically different design. Only a few minutes after hearing his explanation, the Master said,
“OK!” I was shocked, and then I realized that the Master has no attachments whatsoever!
“Everything is okay. No problem!” That’s the way he was, without any worries or hangups! From then on, I could understood the Master’s every word and move better, whether he was in a meeting or giving a lecture.
Some people always quote the Master:
“The Master said...”
Some people do whatever the Master says...
Some people wait for the Master’s instructions before they do anything...
Some people think the Master doesn’t know their plans...
Some people think: The Master is getting old, and his sight and hearing
aren’t very good. Won’t he just be an old fogey?
And some people think they can cure the Master’s sickness...
Truly, there are no fixed dharmas─there is no fixed dharma called Anuttarasamyaksambodhi, and there is no fixed dharma spoken by the Thus Come One: The Buddha proclaimed with a single sound, and the myriad creatures understand according to their kind. When the mind arises, all kinds of dharmas arise, unreal and real. What is real? What is unreal? The Master used every expedient─speaking this way and that, saying what he means or saying the opposite of what he means, manifesting the angry appearance of a Vajra spirit, manifesting sickness, or giving spontaneous teachings.
No wonder the patriarchs of the past urged cultivators to cultivate together in large monastic communities. At the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, there are all sorts of people and no fixed dharmas. Along with the assembly, one acts in the play, watches the play, and cultivates the mind in the situations that come up. It may be an ordinary statement, or a momentary insight gained when the Master was instructing and speaking with someone else, but it was worth more than reading ten thousand volumes of Sutras! The Master accepted all kinds of people according to their potentials and taught them according to conditions, regardless of their nationality or race, regardless of whether they were old, weak, sick, or handicapped. In the few years I’ve been at the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, I have observed the Venerable Master’s playful use of spiritual powers and his merging of worldly and transcendental expedient means. Truly, it is the height of perfection!
How many people have come upon hearing the good name? How many have left, never to return? Many people have failed to truly realize what a rare and supreme Way-place the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is. It is a place where cultivators can cultivate without any worries. Even those with families to raise can follow the Venerable Master in this turbid world and walk the path of liberation to return to the pure inherent nature. As the Master said,
“If you soak in the Dharma water, after soaking a
long time you’ll gradually come to understand!”
How long must we soak? There are no fixed dharmas. It depends on each person’s conditions. As for myself, I knew that if I didn’t soak every day, I wouldn’t be able to return home. So I thought I might as well move into the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas! I hope those with affinities will be mindful of impermanence and return to the Sagely City as soon as possible to bathe in the Dharma and realize Bodhi together. Amitabha Buddha!
When every thought is sincere, every thought penetrates;
In silence, responses are quietly received.
When you reach the end of the mountains and rivers,
You are free to roam throughout the Dharma Realm.
──by Venerable Master Hua