Venerable Master Hsuan Hua’s address at the East West Academy of Healing Arts graduation ceremony held at the home of Celia and Larry Lee. Translated by Sramanerika Kuo Ching.

Today I am happy to attend the graduation ceremony of the East West Academy of Healing Arts. The young people are the first graduating class, that is, you are the first of your kind to appear in this country. You are the future saviors of this world, do you know what I mean by this?

I mean that you should know the vast responsibility that lies ahead for you. You should take living beings across from suffering and illness, relieving them of all pain. If even a single living being remains uncured, your task is not yet finished.

Now how do you go about accomplishing such a mighty task? By being selfless, and being at one with the multitudes. If you have no selfishness, you will not think of your own benefit above others; you would work only for the well being of all. Never ask what others can do for you, or how they can repay you in kind. That is not necessary. As long as you try with sincerest effort to help others, they will benefit. Don't wait for them to thank you.

How do you become selfless? By cleansing your heart and mind of defilement and by getting rid of desire. If you clear up the defiling dust, your original wisdom will naturally sine forth, like a perfectly clear mirror.

Now when you seek to cure people's illness, bear in mind there are two types of illness: the illness of the body and the illness of the mind.

Illness of the body has visible causes and is easier to cure. Illness of the mind has invisible causes and that is where the true core of your job lies. What are these causes? They are the five poisons: greed, hate, stupidity, arrogance, and suspicion of the proper Dharma. These five servants pollute the mind. If you get rid of these poisons, first within your own minds, then you can help others to be rid of them. This I call true curing.

Originally an incredible, all-pervasive strength fills up the universe, all of empty space. It is from this strength that all great saints, people of real knowledge and courage have drawn their wisdom. Jesus, God, the Buddha, Mohammed, and all the Bodhisattvas draw from this inexhaustible wealth of energy to save living beings. All religions partake of this universal strength: Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Islam, and others.

Only shallow people with shallow beliefs started making discriminations, dividing this sect from that sect, creating fractions, making all religions seem different. Actually they arise from the same source.

When this great energy is torn by divisionism, it becomes scattered. Hence nowadays, responses will only occur sometimes and not constantly. If all of your energies were channeled towards one, vast store, responses will certainly be efficacious. If you become like the great Bodhisattvas, you will certainly come into this strength.

I want all of you to remember the Thousands Hands and Eyes. This is the method perfected by Kuan Yin Bodhisattva to cure the illness of all sentient beings. Kuan Yin has, because of his limitless compassion and vows, perfected this method, foremost in curing all manner of illness.

Right now the world needs young people such as yourselves. I am old, and not of much use anymore. You, however, are like young trees in a forest, growing with intense vigor and vibrancy. Therefore, go ahead full-steam with courage and wisdom and try your best!