Spoken by the Venerable Master Hua


On October 12, 1975, the Venerable Master Hua responded to an invitation from the Nyingma Institute in Berkeley, California, and delivered this address to an audience of several hundred students of Tibetan Buddhism. It is an urgent call for the unification of world Buddhists. It is hoped the reader will take this message to heart, for only if the notions of "sects" and "schools" are dropped will we be able effectively to spread the Buddha's teachings of wisdom and compassion throughout this greed and strife-torn world where it is so badly needed--and then to worlds and universes beyond.


trans: Bhiksuni Heng Yin
reviewed: Bhiksuni Heng Ch'ih
edited: Sramanerika Heng Chen








Buddhism in this present age must break through the barriers of sects and schools. We should not continue as before to propagate the Buddhadharma with methods that are old-fashioned and isolationist. This is now the space age, the scientific age, and those who wish to spread the Buddhadharma must have scientific minds, and hearts capacious enough to contain space itself.  In all respects, we must progress and expand. Today, I have met with all of you Good Knowing Advisers, you young people of great promise, Buddhist youth with futures; and so I shall express my very ignorant views. This is an age of progress, and we Buddhists must not fall back and retreat. We should go forward with heroic vigor. This heroic vigor means that first of all, regardless of which sect or school we belong to, we must all work together and divest ourselves of the view of self, unite together in order to spread Buddhism throughout the entire world, even into outer space, to other universes, to teach and transform living beings. In order to do this, Buddhist disciples must unite and not discriminate between Dhyana School, the Teaching School, the Vinaya School, the Secret School, or the Pure Land school. Don't make such distinctions. All are Buddhist disciples and all must work together. Not only should Buddhists themselves unite, but Buddhism should unite with other religions as well and not dwell upon differences. The Buddha said it very clearly, "All living beings have the Buddha nature, all can become Buddhas." Since all can become Buddhas, regardless of whether you are a Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Moslem, Taoist or Confucian, you are a human being who believes in a certain religion and human beings are all one category of living beings. Thus when the Buddha said, "All living beings have the Buddha nature and can become Buddhas," it follows that whether they are Bodhisattvas or not, they are living beings, and since they are living beings they all have the opportunity to become Buddhas. You may say, "But those of other religions do not believe in the Buddha." Even if they don't believe in the Buddha, they certainly believe in living beings. They cannot deny that they themselves are living beings. If they deny this, I would ask them, what do they call themselves? They couldn't come up with another name, and even though names are false, the living beings are real. So their name can't be changed. Since you can't change the appellation, they must be considered living beings" and are therefore included within the Buddha's teaching. Whether or not they believe in Buddhism, we accept them as part of Buddhism. In this way, to the end of space and the Dharma Realm, no living being falls beyond the scope of the Buddhadharma. We Buddhists should not limit ourselves to one small territory, saying "This is my Buddhism." The teaching of the Buddha is universal. Throughout space and the Dharma Realm, there is not one place in which the Buddha does not teach and transform living beings. Since that's the way it is, whether or not they believe in Buddhism is simply a matter of time. If they don't believe today, they will believe tomorrow. If they don't believe tomorrow, they will next month. If they don't believe next month, they will the month after that. Eventually the day will come when they will believe in the Buddhadharma. And that is speaking of it in short-range terms. If you wish to expand upon the principle, if they don't believe in this life, I will wait until their next life. If they don't believe in their next life, I'll wait until the life after that. If they don't believe in this great aeon, I'll wait for them to believe in the next great aeon. If they don't believe in that great aeon, I will wait until the great aeon following that. I will keep waiting and eventually the day will come when they will believe. Thus, whether or not they believe is only a matter of time.

Therefore, the teaching of the Buddha can also be called, "The teaching of people." This is because all people can become Buddhas. The Buddha is a perfected human being; he is most certainly not a god. God, too, must believe in the Buddha, because God is limited to existence within the three realms. Thus, Buddhism may be called "the teaching of people."

Buddhism may also be termed, "the teaching of the mind." Everyone has a mind, and the mind itself is the Buddha. In this way, all religions should unite. They may set themselves apart from me, but I do not set myself apart from them. I include all religions within Buddhism. I include all people, good or bad, within Buddhism. The bad people will gradually reform, the confused ones will eventually become enlightened. As Buddhists then, we must expand our capacity to the end of space and the Dharma Realm in propagating the Teaching. Buddhism can then spread throughout space. This is an extremely important point.

 Why do I say that all religions are included within Buddhism? It's because Buddhism pervades space and the Dharma Realm. Which religion goes beyond space? Which religion goes beyond the Dharma Realm? Not one of them.  Therefore, they are all included within Buddhism. Can you deny the validity of the statement that all religions are included within Buddhism? You cannot because it is perfectly logical. For example, Buddhism may be compared to the government of a certain country, a government which has a lot of different departments. All the other religions are nothing more than different departments of the Buddhadharma. What's so strange about that? Nothing. It's very ordinary. But since you never thought of it in that way, you thought that they were not Buddhist. Could there be anything, which is not Buddhist?Buddhism considers all living beings as included within it; they just belong to different departments, that's all.

Disciples of the Buddha, if we all had mental capacities of that great scope we would have taken the Buddha's teaching into space, and to other worlds long ago. But it's just because we all have our small "territories" that until the present the Buddhadharma has been limited to this Saha world in which we live, and we have not spread it throughout the worlds of the ten directions. We should be greatly ashamed. So, at Gold Mountain Monastery all are welcome to come, and all welcome to leave. Those who come haven't left the Dharma Realm. Those who leave haven't left it either. Gold Mountain Monastery and the Buddhists of the entire world are one, and there are no distinctions made between "us " and "them." We hope to maintain attitudes which are this open and broad so that we can carry on great work within the Buddhadharma. If your mind is small, your work will be small. If your mind is large, your work will be great. If you can unite with the people of the entire world. Buddhism will pervade everywhere. Why do I say this? The Avatamsaka Sutra says,

"If one wishes to know,

The Buddhas of the three periods of time,

One should contemplate the nature of the Dharma Realm:

Everything is made only from the mind."

If you really want to truly to understand how the Buddhas of the past, present, and future accomplished Buddhahood, you should take a look at the nature of the Dharma Realm. Everything is created from the mind. When we cultivate the Way, what do we cultivate? The mind. When the mind arises, the various dharmas arise; when the mind is extinguished, the various dharmas are extinguished. If you can "not produce a single thought," you can unite with the Dharma Realm. Why haven't we united with the Dharma Realm? It's because we have discriminations, we have thought. In cultivating the Dharma, you may cultivate Dhyana, the teachings, the precepts, the secret school or the Pure Land, but it is all in order to bring your thoughts to a halt so that you do not produce a single thought.

When you don't produce a single thought

The entire substance manifests;

When the six sense organs suddenly move,

You're covered by the clouds.

Why are we so stupid, so lacking in wisdom? It's because we base our actions on the workings of the six sense organs. If one is not turned by the sense data as it reaches the six sense organs, but can on the other hand turn, or be in control of it, then there's hope. If you are in control of the situation instead of being controlled by it, then:

Inwardly one views the mind, and there is no mind;

Outwardly, one views forms, but there are no forms;

Distantly, one views objects, yet there are no objects.

If you can view these three as empty, you must then further view emptiness as empty. If you hold onto your view of emptiness saying, "I am empty, empty, empty..." you still have a thought. You must not even hold onto emptiness. Then you can return to the root and go back to the source, take the road back home. You can return to that land of Eternal Still Light. Then you won't be disappointed in your cultivation. Do not on the one hand sit in Dhyana meditation while on the other entertaining idle thoughts, such as, "Tomorrow, how will my business go? What appointments do I have? What profits will I gain?" If you study the teachings and think, "I'm going to master the teachings, become a great Dharma Master so that people will bow to me, pay reverence, and make offerings. Boy, then I'll have more money than I know what to do with and eat anything I please" With false thoughts like that, your meditation and your study of the teachings are of no use to you. It's also useless to keep the precepts, thinking, "I am going to keep the precepts, become a Vinaya Master, and people and gods will make offerings to me..." If you cultivate the Secret School, reciting mantras while thinking idle thoughts, you won't obtain samadhi either, and you won't obtain a genuine response from your study. If you recite the Buddha's name while thinking idle thoughts, that too is useless. You must not give rise to a single thought. All of cultivation is merely using poison to fight poison, to cure you of your false thoughts and discriminations. If you can have no discriminations, if you can cut off the root of your discriminations, then you have potential. So, although I'm not much of a speaker, and not skilled at expounding the doctrines, since you are all so sincere in asking me here to speak, I have told you these simple principles, and wasted a great deal of your time. However, I will not say, "I'm sorry." That's because if I said, "I'm sorry," that would indicate that I really did know how to talk.

 Does anyone have any questions? If so, we can look into them together.

Student: What is the Buddhadharma? The Master: It is just your asking. Do you understand? I ask you, what is not the Buddhadharma? (the student does not answer) You're imitating others by not speaking. That is not the non-dual Dharma-door. All dharmas are the Buddhadharma; there is not one, which is not the Buddhadharma. Student: Is attachment the Buddhadharma? The Master: Non-attachment is the Buddhadharma; attachment is the Buddhadharma. If it were not the Buddhadharma, you would not be able to be attached. When you begin to cultivate, sitting in Dhyana, studying the teaching, holding the precepts, and reciting the Buddha's name are all attachments, but although they are attachments, one cultivates in order to break these attachments.

If you see affairs and are awake,

you can transcend the world;

If you see affairs and are confused,

you fall beneath the wheel.

      If you haven't eaten your fill you will have to wait for another opportunity to eat some more. If you are full you need not strike up false thinking.


The classic Buddhist description of the workings of karma. One of the most popular of Buddhist writings in China, now translated from the Chinese for the first time with illuminating commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, Abbot of Gold Mountain Monastery in San Francisco. 235 pages, 6 x 9, $6.95 paper, $12.75 cloth.