Dharma Talks

Continued from issue #57


Translated by Bhiksuni Heng Yin
Revised by Bhiksuni Heng Ch’ih
Edited by Bhiksu Heng Kuan
Transcribed by Upasika Kuo Chwan Baur

Day #4 June 18, 1970

Good Knowing Advisors: Why do I call you Good Knowing Advisors? If you weren't Good Knowing Advisors you wouldn't be able to recite Kuan Yin Bodhisattva's name. Since you have come to recite, you must be Good Knowing Advisors.

Where did you Good Knowing Advisors come from? In past lives, you created an affinity with the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. Think it over: previously in America there weren't any left-home people, and there was nowhere to go to attend a Kuan Yin Session. Now, here you are.

We say we "strike up" a session, and that means that we do battle with our false thinking. Our false thinking .is continuous from morning to night; there's just no way you could count all your false thoughts which are as many as specks of dust in empty space. See the dust on the window? We have just that many false thoughts.

"Well," you say, "I didn't know that."

Of course not. When everything is black and the sunlight isn't streaming in, you cannot see the motes of dust. Your recitation of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva's name has given you the sunlight of wisdom with which to reveal your false thoughts.

"My mind is running wild. I'm sitting here reciting Kuan Yin Bodhisattva's name and at the same time I'm having false thoughts about going out for a beer. I recite a bit more and then I have a false thought to go have a steak. I recite a little more and then I think I would like to go out and get stoned."

Now that you know you have false thoughts, where do these thoughts come from? The sun of wisdom shines on your dusty false thoughts so that all of you now know you have them and since you are determined to bring them to a stop, I call you all, "Good Knowing Advisors."

Do you all consider yourselves Good Knowing Advisors?

Someone is thinking, "I am not a Good Knowing Advisor."

It does not really matter whether you consider yourself as one, because you already are one. Not only can you consider yourself a Good Knowing Advisor, but you can also become a Buddha. But don't consider yourself a Buddha already. Don't be like those stupid people who say, "Hey, everyone is a Buddha. We are all Buddhas."

What kind of Buddha are you? You are a meat Buddha, a bone Buddha. You are a Buddha whose belly is full of hate. You are a Buddha whose belly is full of greed. You are a Buddha whose belly is full of stupidity. If you are greedy, you are a greedy Buddha. If you do not want other people to be Buddhas, then you are a hateful Buddha, if you think everyone is not as good as you and that you are number one, then you are a stupid Buddha. Take a look at yourself. Are you one of those kinds of Buddhas? Take a look at the Buddha: he is not angry, greedy, or stupid. You can scold him and he is still happy; he does not lose his temper. You can hit the Buddha and he still does not get angry.

You say, "I think I'll take a slug at the Buddha."

You have to see him first! If you cannot see him, how can you hit him?  Besides, you cannot hit a Buddha. Just thinking about hitting a Buddha is an offense. So don't follow the demon kings. Don't be like those faceless people who say, "Everybody is a Buddha."

When I spoke at Redwood City I said that the word Buddha means "BU DA," "not big." Don't think you are as big as Mount Sumeru. If you think that way you certainly are not a Buddha. The Buddha does not have any big status, and he does not have any special style. Although he has thirty-two marks and eighty minor characteristics, that is from the point of view of living beings. It is living beings who think that the Buddha is either present or not present. In actuality, the Buddha is not big or small, he is not inside or outside, he is not produced or destroyed, he 'does not come or go, and he is not defiled or pure. So if you say that you are a Buddha, and yet when I scold you, you cannot take it, when I hit you, you get angry just the same, then you'd better not say that you are a Buddha. When you have become a Buddha you won't have to say that you are a Buddha. To say that you are a Buddha before you have realized Buddhahood is like an old farmer who goes around saying, "I am the emperor."

Really? Who is going to look out for you? If you don't have any subjects what is the use of being an emperor?

I call you all Good Knowing Advisors because in the first thought you had to attend the Kuan Yin Session you were already Good Knowing Advisors.  You have now been here for two days and have been extremely reverent and respectful in reciting Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva's name.

You're probably thinking, "How does the Master know my thoughts? Can he read my mind? Someone was thinking about drinking and the Dharma Master knew. Someone also wanted to go get stoned and the Dharma Master knew. The Dharma Master is probably not an ordinary person, not ordinary at all!

You're wrong. If you think that, that is a false thought. I'll tell you some more about your thoughts. I don't have to wait for you to have your false thoughts, I know them before you even think them! Why? Because in the past I was just like you, and I had false thoughts, too. Now I know your false thoughts without having to read your mind. I don't need the penetration of other's thoughts, I just listen to you recite, "Namo Kuan Shih Yin Pu Sa," and it sounds very sincere. This means that in the past you created an affinity with the Sangha.

Now, there are genuine left-home people in America who only eat one meal a day. Do they wait until you are not looking and then steal food? I don't think so. Why? Because in America everything is very democratic. No one forced them to eat one meal a day. They decided to do it on their own. It is very rare for Westerners to be able to cultivate this way. You shouldn't think that I'm exaggerating. I'm not at all. Also, at night they sleep sitting up. This is very uncomfortable. I have tried this myself and it is not easy.

You have an affinity with the Sangha and you have an affinity with the Dharma. Reciting Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva's name is a dharma, a method for cultivation. Seeking rebirth in the Pure Land and reciting Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva's name to get rid of your sickness and pain is also a dharma.  You also have an affinity with the Buddha. Understanding the Dharma, you will certainly be able to become a Buddha. So I'm very happy. You have an affinity with the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. You will certainly be able to cultivate morality, samadhi, and wisdom. Reciting Kuan Shih Yin's name is called "cultivating the precepts of no-precepts." In other words, "the maintaining of no-maintaining." Although you have false thinking, you are still sitting here and being very respectful. You are respecting the Bodhisattva and so are in accord with the precepts. The precepts are: no killing, no stealing, no sexual misconduct, no lying and no taking intoxicants. Since you are sitting here, you're not going out to kill anyone, and so you are holding the precept against killing. You might think, "I'd like to go to the store and rip off a bottle of beer, a pack of cigarettes, a piece of fruit, or some candy," but although you might think about it, you're not going to do it and so you are holding the precept against stealing.  Reciting, you don't have sexual desire, and all day long you don't even talk, so how could you lie? There is no wine here. Although we have a little milk, it's not going to get you drunk, and the apples haven't been made into wine, so you are not breaking precepts. Not breaking the precepts is the same as holding the five precepts. Although you haven't formally received the five precepts, you are cultivating them all the same. If you do not break the five precepts, you will be able to develop samadhi.

In the past two days some of you may have seen flowers or have smelled a rare fragrance. Although we are all in the same hall, everyone's state is different. Some people see light and some don't. Some people see flowers and others do not. Some people may see a big lotus flower in the hall. In the future they will have an opportunity to sit in one of them. Some may see Bodhisattvas; some may see Buddhas. But whatever you see, don't be afraid.   It comes from your holding of the precepts. It's a kind of auspicious state, which purifies your body and mind. Kuan Yin Bodhisattva may pour an entire bottle of sweet dew water over your head, and you will be so clean that you won't know where your false thinking ran off to, but it will disappear. Is that wonderful or not? Some people experience such states and others don't. If you do, don't be afraid. If you don't understand you can come and see me.  It's not for sure that I'll know, but I may know a little more about it than you--not a whole lot more, just a little bit--and I'll be able to answer your questions. Then you'll really be Good Knowing Advisors.

Why can you be called Good Knowing Advisors?

It is because from holding precepts you have given rise to samadhi; from samadhi, wisdom has arisen. This is genuine wisdom, not the kind of false, unreal states stupid people obtain from dope. What you have is real. You don't have to take dope. All you have to do is recite the name of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva, hold the precepts, give rise to samadhi, and open your wisdom. The wisdom is genuinely yours; it is inherently yours. To depend upon the strength of a drug is to turn yourself upside down so that you even think to kill yourself in order to get reborn in the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss, and is extremely perverted. So you young people should become truly wise. The young people in this country have an affinity with me. When I talk, many of them believe me. Not only do they believe me, but they come along with me to undergo bitterness.

You may say, "Not me. I'm leaving tomorrow. I'm not going to suffer with this Dharma Master."

If you don't want to undergo suffering. I'm certainly not going to force you to do so. But you should know that if you undergo suffering you will be able to put an end to suffering. If you don't-enjoy your blessings you will not destroy your blessings. If you understand what this means, you will follow me. Now we should recite Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva's name and do the Great Transference of Merit.  

To be continued


Dear Friends in the Dharma,

With great admiration we heard about the travelling over one thousand one hundred miles on foot of Bhiksu Heng Ju and Bhiksu Heng Yo. We think—as it seems you do that every effort has to be made to promote peace. We are sure your two Bhiksus will have gained a lot of merit by undertaking their task, and we are very grateful for their strain for the benefit of all men on earth.

We regret that none of us was able to follow your cordial invitation to take part on the festivities in honor of Bhiksu Heng Ju and Bhiksu Heng Yo.  We sincerely hope all participants will have enjoyed the festival.

With our best wishes,

Yours in the Dharma

K.P.W. Stort
Deutsche Buddhistische Onion
D 3 Hannover (W. Germany)
Bunteweg 50