“Did the Master really leave?”
“Master, what are we going to do now that you’ve gone?”
“The Master is expounding the subtle, wondrous, and profound great Dharma to see if we recognize it or not!”
The news of the Venerable Master’s completion of stillness rapidly spread around the world. His disciples are talking nonstop, expressing their endless remembrance and gratitude towards the Venerable Master. Some people are grieved at the sudden loss of the great teacher who was leading us out of the Triple Realm. Some people are suspicious, wondering if the Venerable Master is playing a joke on us. Others think the Venerable Master is giving us a test. Some think the Venerable Master’s state is the Flower Adornment State─exhausting empty space and pervading the Dharma Realm, that he is nowhere and yet everywhere, and that as long as we continue to apply effort, it’s the same whether he is in America or in the Pure Land of Eternal Stillness and Light, because the Buddha’s light constantly shines everywhere. It has been said
“We searched for him among the multitudes for thousands of eons. Yet facing him we fail to recognize him─shouldn’t we reflect on this?” Have you been able to fathom this matter? Have you passed the test?
The Venerable Master’s illness lasted for six years, yet during these six years he continued to travel around propagating the Dharma for the benefit of living beings, never stopping to take a rest.
“Right now I’m like two people. One person is
still going everywhere and rescuing living
beings. As for this person who is lying in bed,
I don’t care about him. I won’t help myself
This public-spirited and unselfish attitude is the spirit of precepts. Why do people transgress the precepts, break the rules of pure eating, create karma, and undergo birth and death? Because of selfishness and the desire for personal benefit. That’s why they will be greedy, fight, seek, lie, and do all sorts of confused things that they later regret. The precepts are wisdom and light. If one is unselfish and doesn’t seek personal benefit, one will naturally uphold the precepts as purely as the full moon. Before the Buddha entered Nirvana, he instructed his disciples to take the precepts as their teacher. The Venerable Master followed the precepts and yet was free of precepts, and thus he influenced many people to go to America and cultivate under his guidance in order to end birth and death, leave suffering, and attain bliss. Even if the Venerable Master is not physically in the world, as long as you can learn the Venerable Master’s unselfish spirit, you will be one of the Venerable Master’s hundreds of millons of transformation bodies.
“Don’t always seek for aid from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Don’t always pray for your teacher’s aid. You should aid yourself and then go out and aid others.” This was the medicine prescribed by the Venerable Master five years ago when I first met him. Only recently have I understood the pains taken by the Great King of Physicians. We cannot rely on our Wise Advisor forever. After our Wise Advisor has entered Quiescence, it’s even more important for us to stand up on our own feet. Once we have a steady footing, we can help others stand up as well. How should we stand up? By constantly reflecting on ourselves in every move we make wherever we are. Ask ourselves if we have afflicted others. Have we hindered their cultivation? If so, we should quickly acknowledge our mistakes and reform and renew ourselves. We shouldn’t be delighted by favorable conditions. We should acknowledge our debts when we run into adverse states. According with conditions, we should get rid of old karma. And we should extensively create wholesome conditions.
“The teaching of a Wise Advisor is like the sun shining on a pond of flowers. It can cause all the lotuses of wholesome mind to bloom.” When the Venerable Master taught the Dharma, he talked not about abstract theories, but about basic human principles that disciples should put into practice in their daily lives in order to fulfill their roles and duties.
His kindness and compassion cross over all;
Believers are liberated and perfect the Right Enlightenment.
Transforming beings wherever he goes, his spirit remains intact,
Those who venerate him obtain blessings and
awaken to the Unproduced.
Those who wished to take refuge with the Venerable Master had to make ten thousand bows to the Buddhas before they would be considered his disciples. Little did they know that this was one of the Master’s skillful expedients for teaching and rescuing living beings. The act of bowing to the Buddhas can help us to nurture a humble mind, get rid of self-conceit, eradicate karmic hindrances, and correct past mistakes and cause us not to repeat them in the future. Naturally, our offenses will disappear and blessings will arise, and we will obtain adornments of body and mind.
“All of you must become Buddhas first, and then I will become a Buddha. Don’t just eat your fill and wait to die, passing the time in vain. You should advance vigorously. Don’t delay your teacher from becoming a Buddha.” This is an manifestation of the Venerable Master’s simultaneous application of compassion and wisdom. He always used simple words of profound meaning to exhort his disciples to reform and renew themselves, to turn from confusion and go towards enlightenment.
“All of you have bad tempers. If everyone can be without a temper, I will get well. You must reform your own thinking and behavior. Everyone must start with the basics.” This is what the Venerable Master taught, and we should follow it. Then we will not feel remorse for being disciples of this Bright-eyed Wise Advisor of our time. Then we will not have been ungrateful to the Master for his kindness, and we will not let down our own spiritual nature.
The Flower Adornment Dharma Assembly, the Shurangama Platform,
and the Forty-two Hands and Eyes establish the Heavens and the Earth.
The World Honored Ones of Wonderful Enlightenment and the Bodhisattvas
of Equal Enlightenment,
with a billion transformation bodies, can turn oceans into mountains.
This is the couplet engraved on the mountain gate of the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. It was composed by the Venerable Master and completely describes the Master’s life and deeds. The Venerable Master’s vast vow is to propagate the Great Shurangama Dharma and proclaim the Great Shurangama Meaning in life after life, because the Shurangama Sutra and the Shurangama Mantra are symbols of the proper Dharma’s perpetuation in the world. The branch monasteries in Taiwan began nonstop recitation of the Shurangama Mantra, some in December of last year and some on the Venerable Master’s birthday this year, dedicating the merit to the Venerable Master and praying for him to stay in the world and for the proper Dharma to remain in the world. Following the Venerable Master’s last instructions, a Flower Adornment Assembly of forty-nine days is being held during which the Flower Adornment Sutra will be recited three times. Before he left, the Venerable Master gave his disciples this supreme Dharma treasure which they can use for countless eons, allowing them to plant the wonderful cause for Buddhahood. As long as we cultivate in accordance with the principles of the Flower Adornment Sutra, we will surely become Buddhas. If you do not, you and the Sutra will remain two separate things, and you won’t be able to gain great benefit. As the saying goes,
“The Master leads you in the door, but you yourself
Born from the merit and virtue of the Thus Come One,
He causes those who see him to delight in the Buddha’s wisdom.
Without leaving one kshetra, he goes to the myriad lands,
Just like the moon appearing everywhere and shining on
all the world.
How fortunate we are to have met such a great and wise advisor in this dark age. We should follow his teachings─speak true words, do true deeds, practice true principle. We must be true to the utmost in all we do, for only then can we be liberated from birth and death and escape the Triple Realm. We must diligently cultivate good roots now so that in our next life we will have the great affinity to follow the Venerable Master in cultivation and request the Venerable Master to come back riding on his vows to widely save living beings.
A greedy mind is like a bottomless pit.
Because it is hard to fill, anger arises.
A profusion of the five desires leads to upside-down thinking.
Without our realizing it, the Dharma vessel disintegrates.
──by Venerable Master Hua