Essays By Venerable Master Hsuan Hua


What is the present time? It is a time of the imminent extinction of living things. As we look around the Dharma-realm we see that countries battle each other, families contend with each other, individuals struggle against one another, on and on until great wars between world systems arise. An ancient author said, "War results from quarrels over land and corpses fill the fields. War arises from conflicts over cities, and corpses fill the streets. The earth is made to eat the flesh of men. Such offenses are not expiated by death."

I deeply hope that the leaders of all nations will embody the preference heaven and earth have for life; establish good government and dispense justice; banish quarreling and dispense with greed; ignore themselves and help others; see the universe as one family and see all people as one person. An ancient worthy said, "If anyone is killed, it is as if I killed him myself. If anyone has been cheated, it is as if I cheated him myself." At all times, look within, for as it is said, "If you offend before heaven, you have no place to pray."


At the age of 50 one can know the errors of the previous 49 years. This is not far off from being a "superior one who changes his ways and moves toward the good." An an­cient author has said, "I know that my past faults were left uncorrected, yet I know that in the future I can mend my ways. I know that I have not been off the path of confusion for very long, and am aware of today's rights and yesterday's wrongs."

In Buddhism it is said, "I now repent of all bad deeds, which I have done with body, mouth and mind, all based on beginningless greed, hatred, and stupidity. Offenses arise from the mind, yet the mind is used to repent. When the mind is forgotten, offenses are no more. When both mind and offenses are eradicated, both are empty. This is called true repentance and reform."

It is my hope that living beings of the Dharma-realm will read this, know its flavor, and put it into practice. It is my hope that from their pain they will repent and then reform. Confucius said, "To have faults and not to change is indeed a fault...when you have faults, do not shrink from change." There is no greater good than this.