A warning of the dangers inherent in technological advance, delivered at Gold Mountain Temple, 1731 15th Street, San Francisco, by the Venerable Abbot, Tripitaka Master Hua, on Saturday, December 12, 1976, during the lecture on the Avatamsaka Sutra.

Translated by Bhiksuni Heng Hsien

We people occupy an area as small as tiny specks of dust within the Dharma Realm. Not only are people as small as fine motes of dust; if a comparison were made of our world and all planets, this planet and all other planets, relatively speaking, are just as small as minute specks of dust within the Dharma Realm. The Dharma Realm has coming into being, dwelling, going bad and disappearing. When it comes into being, it does so gradually. During the period of dwelling, people make daily advances in technology and civilization. However, people should be aware that technology and civilization are precisely what are going to destroy the world. There are twenty small kalpas of coming into being, and twenty small kalpas of dwelling. When civilization has advanced to the ultimate point, every single person will have spiritual penetrations. I have spoken of this before. Without using airplanes, people will be able to travel in space, that is, people will be able to fly. Every single hair-pore on every single person's body will be able to listen to people speak, be able to hear all sounds, and also be able to speak. People will not need telephones to talk with each other. That will be when civilization has made discoveries to the ultimate. However, when that ultimate is reached, this world will be destroyed, for, if you discover them all, there will be no more secrets in heaven and earth, and the planet will go bad. The decay will be from everyone having greed, hatred and stupidity, which are the cause of nuclear fall-out. Our atmosphere will be filled with radioactive nuclear fall-out due to greed, hatred and stupidity, and people will all fight with each other, families fighting with families, countries fighting with countries, and planets fighting with planets. As they fight they will develop weapons so violent and lethal that if those weapons are used a single time, they will destroy the entire world. Due to the ferocity of those weapons, the planet's atmosphere will be eradicated, with the result that people's bones will turn to ashes without having been burned by fire. That renders the Dharma Realm impure. Fortunately there are Bodhisattvas who make vows to prevent planets from being destroyed and to purify limitless Dharma Realms, and keep those vows.

Bodhisattvas also vow to cause all living beings perfectly to accomplish all the purity of spiritual penetrations from good roots. They cause all living beings to be endowed with spiritual penetrations, but spiritual penetrations free from greed, hatred or stupidity. If you have spiritual penetrations like the ones just described, which are the ultimate developments of technology and civilization, they are spiritual penetrations of a sort but, since they are brought about through greed, hatred and stupidity, they are defiled, not pure. True and actual spiritual penetrations are pure, and they are brought about from good roots. The destruction of worlds is the result of everyone's greed, hatred and stupidity. One person who has greed, hatred and stupidity confronts another person who has greed, hatred and stupidity, and each one tries to devour and destroy the other. That is happening already among the major countries of the world, each of which is striving to be foremost. If that striving keeps up, eventually they will open fire and set off all their intercontinental ballistic warheads which will go flying all over the entire planet, destroying it and all humanity with it as well. Even if the planet is not destroyed, it will not be able to sustain life, lacking atmosphere or division into water and land. Then there will be nothing left at all. Everything on earth will be gone, all gone. That is how a world disappears, and everyone right now should be acutely aware of that principle.

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At Gold Mountain Instilling Virtue Elementary School, following a full day of studies which include a bilingual curriculum of Mandarin Chinese and English, teachers and children sit down together in quiet contemplation. Many of the children meditate sitting in the full-lotus position for at least an hour each day. The school instructs children in the virtues of filial piety and respect for their parents and elders, in a non-authoritarian atmosphere where teachers and children can share and solve problems. Mutual trust is enhanced by such activities as group meditation, which is pictured above, voluntary and yet very popular with the children.