Those with a resolve
who have deep faith in the Dharma left by the Master,
continue to shine brightly...
Someone once asked me who was the person I admired the most. I could not answer. Due to my ignorance, heavy karma, confused emotions, offenses accumulated over many eons, and the lack of conditions, I was not able to study Buddhism under the Venerable Master as early as I would have liked. When conditions finally ripened, allowing me to come to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, I again failed to cherish my affinity with the Good and Wise Advisor and didn't apply myself to cultivation right away. I didn't recognize the Buddha who was right in front of me! This is the sorrow of all the obstinate living beings of the Dharma-ending Age. The Master once said,
In the Dharma-ending Age, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas rarely come to the world.
To find another clear-eyed Good and Wise Advisor such as the Venerable Master would as difficult as looking for fish in the trees. As it is said, "Life is like an illusory dream, a bubble, and a shadow." "Time does not wait for us." While we are still healthy, we must cherish every moment of our life, as well as Way-places, education, and various conditions that the Master toiled so hard to provide for his disciples. We must resolve to overcome our habits and faults, face reality, and patiently try to eradicate our karmic obstacles.
Moreover, we should take the time to carefully study the Master's commentaries on Sutras, frequently listen to the Master's wisdom-filled Dharma talks, and practice as much as we understand. With our minds firmly set on the Way, we should honestly follow the Master's instruction to take the precepts as our guide. With steady footsteps let us tread the long path to Buddhahood, cultivating wisdom and blessings hand in hand, so that we won't run out of supplies on our journey and fall into the animal realm to repay our debts. If we were to treat the precepts with contempt, we would fall into the unintermittent hells and not be able to escape the three evil paths for hundreds of eons
－ we would be unfilial disciples. Conversely, if we strictly uphold the precepts, we will see the Buddha and obtain comfort and ease.
The teacher leads you to the door;
you yourself must cultivate.
You yourself have to eat to get full;
you yourself must end your own birth and death.
Everything in the world is speaking Dharma; nothing is apart from Buddhadharma. Thus,
Everything's a test to see what you will do.
If you fail to recognize what's before you,
you'll have to start anew.
When the Master tests his disciples, he is trying to help them succeed, giving them a chance to reflect upon and improve themselves. In the past, we disciples were overly dependent on the Master. Suddenly losing the Master, it is as if we have lost a bright lamp while traveling on a dangerous, dark road filled with thorny brambles. We must cautiously grope our way forward from now on. However, those with a resolve who have deep faith in the Dharma left by the Master continue to shine brightly upon the earth like the sun, moon, and stars. If we can cultivate according to the Dharma, there will always be an imperceptible response. The Avatamsaka Sutra says:
The Buddhas pervading worlds proclaim the wonderful sound.
Throughout the worlds of the ten directions, the Buddhas are proclaiming the wonderful sound. The Thus Come Ones' boundless wisdom sound exhaustively fills space throughout the Dharma Realm. The Buddhas' wonderful speech is unspoken, yet nothing is not spoken. His pure Dharma body is nowhere and yet there is no place it is not. The
Vajra Sutra says:
Wherever the Sutras are found,
the Buddhas' Dharma-body is present.
The compassionate light of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas constantly shines on every disciple of the Buddha, without selfishness or discrimination. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would never renounce a single being. I remember the Master's instructions:
A genuine cultivator of the Way cultivates with extreme caution, as if he were walking along the edge of a cliff or over thin ice. He must be alert and careful at all times. To sum up the basic method of cultivation: speak less and meditate more.
Whenever I fail to deal appropriately with a difficult situation, or whenever I create bad karma in my actions, speech, or thoughts, I have to repent in front of the Master's picture before I can feel at peace again. The Master dwells in my heart always. When I encounter karmic obstacles, am scattered or have lost my direction, if I'm sincere about turning around and changing my faults, all I have to do is pick up the Venerable Master's Dharma talks or commentaries on the Sutras and read carefully－they never let me down. The Master's words of Dharma are like sweet dew nourishing the Bodhi sprouts of my mind－consoling me, exhorting me, guiding me onto the right path, prolonging my wisdom-life, and preventing me from falling. The Master's explanations of the Sutras are rare treasures of Dharma.
Nearly a year has passed since the Master entered perfect stillness. Every time I think of the Master, I ought to feel repentant and remorseful for the defilement in my own nature prevents me from being able to see him. The final goal of cultivating the Way is to understand the mind and see the nature, and to end birth and death. While our affinities as disciples with the Venerable Master are not that deep, they are not shallow either. If we would like to leave home with the Master again in future lives, we ought to contemplate to see if we have truly suspended the matter of birth and death upon our brows." Have we adhered to the Three Great Principles?
We renounce our lives to do the Buddha's work.
We mold our desinies as our basic duty.
We rectify our lives to fulfil the Sangha’s role.
Have we sincerely been able to
Truly recognize our own faults,
Not discuss the faults of others.
See others' faults as our own, and see ourselves
as identical with others in great compassion?
Have we made the Six Guiding Principles our personal credo? We should remember that "no fighting, no greed, no seeking, no selfishness, no pursuit of personal profit, and no lying" are the foundation for cultivators. Those who purely practice these rules are true sons of the Buddha, heirs of the Dharma who can perpetuate the Buddha's wisdom.
The sharira left by the Master represent the Master's Dharma-body. Although the Master is said to have returned to empty space, he actually neither came nor went. The Venerable Master has always been watching over his foolish disciples; he has not left us. That's how wonderful and inconceivable the Buddhadharma is.
The Venerable Master Hua will live forever in the hearts of his disciples as the greatest, wisest, and most respected teacher of humans and gods who serves as the best model for us. He is also the most democratic and most selfless compassionate father, as well as the savior of our wisdom lives.
Whenever I think of the Master, I repent in my mind for all the evil karma I created in the past, and I vow to cut off all evil and cultivate all good in life after life. When I think of the Master, I am deeply grateful for being able to wear the kashaya sash in this life, and I vow never to leave it in life after life as I walk the path towards Bodhi.