THE WONDERFUL DHARMA
|Commentary by the
Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua
Translated by Bhikshuni Heng Yin
Yesterday, we were discussing the Eightfold Path. We discussed the first five, including the five types of improper livelihood. Today we will continue. The sixth of the Eightfold Path is
6. Right vigor. Some people are vigorous in a proper way, others in a deviant way. What is proper, or right, vigor? What is deviant vigor? Deviant vigor refers to cultivation of deviant dharmas. These deviant dharmas harm other people. How do they harm others? The left-handed-doors and outside ways work very hard in the six periods of the day and night, being very vigorous. They cultivate various kinds of ascetic practices, but they are unbeneficial bitter practices. For example, they may imitate the behavior of cows or of dogs, and practice being like chickens. They imitate cows and eat grass all day long. So these people don't eat food, they eat grass, thinking they are very vigorous in their cultivation. This happens because they saw that a cow was born in the heavens. They didn't realize it was because of the merit and virtue which the cow had done previous to being a cow, they thought the cow was born in heaven because it ate grass! So they do the same thing. They take a cow for their teacher. The cow has no understanding of the Dharma whatsoever, and if you study with a cow, that is called improper vigor. As to studying with a dog, hah! They say, dogs watch over the door for people and that brings merit. Dogs eat excrement and that is a form of ascetic practice. So they imitate the dogs. They also imitate chickens. Chickens go looking for food, pecking on the ground, and so they do this too. They pretend that their hands are chicken legs, and they peck at the ground like chickens. They think this is an ascetic practice--they can do something no one else can do. Actually, this is just an unbeneficial type of ascetic practice. Although it is unbeneficial, they won't admit that it is, and they think it is cultivation. Why do they do that? Because they are not being properly vigorous and they have no genuine wisdom. That's why they observe the morality of cows, dogs, and chickens. This is improper vigor.
Right vigor means to cultivate according to the Buddha's Four Applications of Mindfulness, Four Right Efforts, Four Bases of Psychic Power, and the Five Roots, the Five Powers, the Seven Bodhi Shares, the Eightfold Path, the Four Holy Truths, and the Twelve Causal Conditions. Cultivating according to the Six Perfections is right vigor. Right vigor means to cultivate according to the Buddhadharma. One does not cultivate dharmas, which the Buddha did not teach. What the Buddha never taught, we don't do. This is called offering up one's conduct in accord with the teaching, cultivating in accord with the Buddha's instructions. Right vigor means vigor with the body and vigor with the mind. Mental vigor means to diligently recollect the Triple Jewel, not neglecting it for a single thought. Thinking about the Right Dharma is proper vigor. Vigor with the body means putting the teachings into actual practice. For example, bowing to the Buddha, reading the Sutras, bowing to the Sutras, bowing repentance ceremonies and chanting the Buddha's name. These are all manifestations of bodily vigor, actually upholding and practicing the Buddhadharma.
7. Right mindfulness. This means mindfulness of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. Deviant mindfulness means mindfulness of deviant views, prejudiced views, mindfulness of love, never forgetting emotion and love. Mindfulness of being selfish, always thinking about yourself first. You tell them to think about others, and they can't do it. You tell them not to think about themselves and they can't do it. So that is not right mindfulness. Right mindfulness is mindfulness of the Buddha. Whenever we have time we should recollect the Buddha, reciting, "Namo Amitabha Buddha," or "Namo Shakyamuni Buddha," or "Namo Medicine Master Buddha who dispels calamities and lengthens life." Recite the Great Compassion Mantra, the Surangama Mantra--these are all dharmas. Recite the Sutras, The Vajra Sutra, The Dharma Flower Sutra, The Surangama Sutra--these are all dharmas. So there are several laywomen here who go to work and don't eat at night, but come here at night to recite Sutras and they play the wooden fish; it sounds real good. That's right mindfulness.
Mindfulness of the Sangha. What Sangha? The worthy sages of the Sangha of the ten directions. Who are they? They are the Great Bodhisattvas, the Great Arhats, the Great Bhiksus. Now, in the world, all who have left the home-life are members of the Sangha. If you are mindful of the Sangha, you should make offerings to the Sangha. If you are mindful of the Dharma, you make offerings to the Dharma. If you are mindful of the Buddha, you make offerings to the Buddha. If you don't want to forget the Triple Jewel, you must make offerings to the Triple Jewel. If you make offerings to the Triple Jewel, you should do so respectfully. By making offerings to the Triple Jewel, you plant blessings. If you want to have fields of blessings, you must make offerings to the Triple Jewel. In this way you plant blessings. There is a saying that goes:
Although one can't plant blessings with the common Sangha,
If you seek blessings, you must seek them from the common Sangha.
Although a clay dragon can't bring rain,
If you want rain, you must seek it from a clay dragon.
The "common Sangha" refers to ordinary left-home people, those who have not certified to the fruit. Although they can't bring you blessings, when you seek blessings, you must seek them from the common Sangha. If you seek blessings from the common Sangha with a sincere heart, then the ten directions' sagely Sangha will naturally send you blessings. If you don't seek blessings from the common Sangha and go looking for a sagely Sangha, you can look to the ends of the horizon, to the end of the ocean, and you won't find one. If you seek blessings you have to start by seeking them from the common Sangha.
The "clay dragon" is a dragon made of clay. It can't make it rain. However, if you want rain, you have to seek for rain at the temple of the clay dragon. Although Westerners probably aren't familiar with this method, in China when people want rain, they seek rain by going to a dragon king's temple. In the temple there is a clay dragon. If you seek rain there, you will gain a response. It will rain. Now in the scientific age, they say that people don't have control over the rain. They say rain comes from condensation in the atmosphere. That is correct. But the condensation itself has no life of its own. It's like a computer. Unless someone operates the computer, it can't compute. The same principle applies. The rain, although it is from condensation, still, imperceptibly, in a way people cannot see, is controlled by the dragons and spirits. But this is not something we common folk with our science can understand through research. Really, the rain is caused by the dragons.
I’ve never seen any dragons," you say. "How can they make it rain?"
Well, if you haven't seen any dragons, we'll have to wait until you do and then I'll explain to you how it works. Now, you haven't seen any, so I won't tell you about them. However, I remember when I was in Manchuria a very strange thing happened. I had a disciple there named Kuo Hsun. He worked hard at his cultivation and was more sincere than I, had more skill than I. He was my favorite disciple. He built himself a small hut and beside it there was the Dragon King Temple. When he had finished building his hut he asked me to come and perform the opening ceremonies. On opening day, ten dragons from the temple next door came over and asked to take refuge with the Triple Jewel. Would you say this was strange or not? I had four disciples with me at that time and two of them had the Buddha Eye and the Heavenly Eye. When they meditated, the two of them could observe all kinds of things. The ten dragons asked to take refuge and I said to them, "It's been several months since there's been any rain. You're dragons. Why don't you make it rain? Why are you so lazy? Lazy dragons!"
They wanted to take refuge and so when I scolded them they didn't get angry. They said, "We don't have the authority to make it rain. The Lord on High, the Jade Emperor, Sakra, if he tells us to make it rain, then we can do it."
I said to the dragons, "Tell him, then, that in the world here there is a left-home person named so-and-so who is now asking for rain within a radius of 40 miles from where he is. If it rains tomorrow, I will let you take refuge the day after tomorrow. If it doesn't rain tomorrow you can't take refuge, you can't be my disciples and you can't take refuge with the Triple Jewel. So they went right up into the heavens with my message which turned out to be very efficacious. The next day, in fact, it rained, and what is the most strange, it rained right within a 40-mile radius of where I was. There was no rain outside of 40 miles. So the day after, I let them take refuge. That's my experience with dragons and rain. But this is something that although I personally experienced, those who don't believe it far outnumber those who do. Ultimately why is this? I don't know either! I don't pay any attention to whether or not people believe it. I just bring it up for your information and in the future when you come to believe in it you will know that what I told you today was really true.
There was another similar experience I had while in Hong Kong. One year, Hong Kong had no rain during the spring and summer. All the temples, Buddha-halls, and places of cultivation were praying for rain. They sought for 5 or 6 months and didn't get any. I originally paid no attention to such matters, for I have never liked to do things like that. Besides, there were so many people seeking for rain surely their power would be greater than mine. So I ignored the whole thing. But after 5 or 6 months I couldn't ignore it any longer. Because I was living at Hsi Le Yuan (Western Bliss Gardens) and the water was almost dried up, almost gone, I said to one of my old disciples, "You have three days in which to recite 'Namo Amitabha Buddha’ and seek for rain. If it doesn't rain in three days you need not come back to see me. You're an old and useless disciple, and I don't want to see you ever again." So she very obediently recited and after two days, it rained. And then what do you think happened? All the Buddha-halls in Hong Kong advertised in the papers that the rain was a result of their having prayed for it. They all took out ads. Not a single person knew that the rain had come as a result of the recitation done by my old disciple. She never advertised it. Why did I give her three days to get rain? Because I knew I had ten dragon disciples and if they were not lazy any one of them could make it rain. So I told them to come and make it rain and sure enough it rained inside of two days. Things like this have happened often. One time we were making offerings to the heavens and the rain clouds came and a rainstorm formed. Everyone said, "Call off the ceremony. It's going to rain!"
said, "I won't permit it to rain." It takes four hours to do the
ceremony and right after we were done and had just moved everything indoors, it
started pouring down rain! So whether you believe or not, if you have
experienced these things, you know. In Hong Kong my disciples really believe in
me. They know that when I say something, it works--it's magical.
Once you have right mindfulness you need
8. Right concentration. Right concentration is the opposite of deviant samadhi. What is deviant concentration? It's attachment. You can't put it down. For example, some people like to drink and though you tell them not to, they continue to drink with great concentration because they have deviant concentration. Or they like to take drugs and take stupid-pills. The more they take, the stupider they get. When you tell them not to, they say, "I can get enlightened taking this stuff. When I take this stuff things really start to happen. I go through changes. I see and hear differently. This world turns into a world adorned with the seven jewels. Isn't that a state?" It's deviant concentration, that's what it is. For example, one person came here to listen to the lecture, but not a word could get in because he had his deviant concentration going and he was very attached. "I'm right! I can't listen to you!" That's deviant knowledge, deviant views, and deviant concentration.
Then what is right concentration? Right concentration is the cultivation of the Four Dhyanas and Eight Samadhis. The first, second, third, and fourth dhyanas. Then add the Four Stations of Emptiness--the station of boundless emptiness, the station of boundless consciousness, the station of nothing whatsoever, the station of neither perception or non-perception--that makes Eight Samadhis. Cultivate these dharmas but do not keep the mark of a self. Don't have a self at all. Forget your "self." If you have forgotten your "self" how could you still keep on drinking, keep on taking drugs, keep on indulging yourself and being attached to your own body? Everyone looks for self-advantages, but people who cultivate the Ch'an School forget about advantages. That's right concentration.
The text reads, having also many servants, which follow and guard them. "Servants" are those who work to serve one. They follow and protect them. This is also an analogy. The servants represent the expedient Dharma-doors. The Expedients Paramita. By means of expedient Dharmas one arrives at the other shore. What are expedients? What are servants? Expedient Dharmas are those which are indirect and which accord with people's wishes. How do they do this? Say people do a certain kind of work and you go help them out. That's being expedient. The heavenly demons and outside religions and those of the Two Vehicles cannot get away from expedients but follow the wisdom of expedients in their cultivation of the Way. So in The Vimalikirti Sutra it says, "They are all my servants." They are like waiters, helpers.
The servants can also be said to represent the spiritual powers gained on the result-ground by the Bodhisattvas. The result ground Bodhisattvas have already certified to the fruit and attained to the position of the ten grounds. That is what is meant by "result ground.” These Bodhisattvas all have spiritual powers and their spiritual powers accord with the wishes in their minds. They can do whatever they think to do. This spiritual power is as their minds wish it to be and so the text says, "Having also many servants which follow and guard them." They protect them. This means that the Great Vehicle Dharma requires many expedients to bring it to accomplishment. With these spiritual powers one can do anything at all. It's like having a lot of servants.
If this passage of text is looked at from the point of view of "contemplation of the mind," we observe each thought in the mind: vertically speaking, the thoughts, which come from our mind, have no former or latter, no beginning and no end. Horizontally speaking, our mind has no boundary. So the thoughts present in our mind reveal the Truth of Emptiness, the Truth of the False, and the Truth of the Middle Way. Because they contain all Three Truths--Empty, False, and Middle--the cart is said to be broad and high.
The thoughts present in our minds also contain the Ten Dharma Realms. None of the Ten Dharma Realms goes beyond the thoughts present in the mind. So the cart is said to be broad, as are the Ten Dharma Realms. The virtuous qualities within our self-nature are more numerous than the grains of sand in the Ganges River. So the cart is adorned with a multitude of intertwining jewels. The many virtuous qualities of the nature are the "multitude." The basic substance of those virtuous qualities is jewel-like, and so they are like a multitude of intertwining jewels.
As to the mind: outside of the mind, there are no dharmas; outside of the dharmas, there is no mind.
The Buddha spoke all dharmas,
For the minds of living beings,
If there were no minds,
What use would dharmas be?
So it is said, outside of the mind there are no dharmas; outside of the dharmas, there is no mind. The mind is just the dharmas; the dharmas are just the mind. Outside ways, what are they? They seek for the dharma outside of the mind. Since there are no dharmas outside the mind, the word "mind" includes worldly dharmas and transcendental dharmas. That is what is represented in the text by the phrase, surrounded by railings.
Hung with bells on the four sides indicates that the mind can universally influence all things. It proclaims all the sounds of the teaching. None of them goes beyond one thought of the mind.
Further it is covered with canopies. This, too, is speaking about the thoughts present in the mind. The mind is the most wonderful thing among all the dharmas. Since it is the most wonderful thing among all dharmas, it includes all dharmas within it. There are no dharmas, which are not inside the mind. There are no dharmas the mind does not contain. The mind "covers" all dharmas. So it says, "Further it was covered with canopies," and this represents the thoughts present in the mind.
As to the mind, there are mind dharmas and subsidiary mind dharmas. The eighth consciousness, also called the Mind King, sometimes performs an observation and when it does this, the subsidiary mind dharmas all respond to it. They all follow its orders. So this is what is represented by and adorned with various rare and precious jewels. This is lecturing according to the Mind Contemplation method of explanation. It is difficult to understand, but unless you hear it, you will never understand it. Everyone knows there is a mind, but all these ways of looking at it are not easy to understand.
As to subsidiary mind dharmas, when the wholesome subsidiary mind dharmas react favorably with the remaining subsidiary mind dharmas, in a continuous uninterrupted fashion, this is represented in the text by the phrase with jeweled cords strung around it.
From out of the wholesome subsidiary mind dharmas, limitless wisdom arises and limitless blessings and virtues are realized and this is represented by the phrase, hung with flowered tassels.
Further, that thought present in the mind/nature is complete with pliant and light dharmas; not only is it replete with pliant and light dharmas, it is complete with all dharmas. It is complete with all dharmas—multi-layered and without end. Layer after layer, you could never speak of them all, never explain them all and it's just that thought present in the mind/nature which has such a versatile functioning. Thus it is represented by the phrase, heaped up with beautiful mats.
Take another look at the mind/nature. It itself is movement; it is also stillness. It can move and it can be still. Movement does not obstruct stillness; stillness does not obstruct movement. Movement and stillness are one suchness. Movement and stillness are non-dual. The singularity of their suchness and their non-duality is represented by the phrase, set about with rosy cushions.
Yoked to a white ox...If you observe it at a deeper level, the doctrine of the mind/nature is manifest through the Wonderful Observing Wisdom, and this is represented by the phrase "yoked to a white ox"
Whose skin is plump and white in color. The merit and virtue of the nature is subtle and inconceivable and this is represented by the phrase whose skin is plump. If in the mind/nature's limitless merits and virtues there is no affliction mixed in, then it is white in color. Its color is pure. Why? Because in your mind and nature there is no admixture of ignorance or affliction.
The mind is complete with perfect penetration and comfort and this is represented by the phrase, of fine appearance.
Of great muscular strength. The wisdom of perfect contemplation can produce all good roots. The perfect contemplation can eradicate love and views within the Triple Realm. It can eradicate love and views beyond the Triple Realm. Love and views are upside down and it takes great strength to eradicate them.
The perfect contemplation is the non-duality of samadhi and wisdom. Wisdom is samadhi and samadhi is just wisdom. Wisdom and samadhi perfectly interpenetrate and this is represented by the phrase who walks with even tread.
The perfect contemplation easily arrives at the other shore and this is represented by the phrase as fleet as the wind. This perfect contemplation leads all the subsidiary mind dharmas, controls them all and so this is represented by the phrase having also many servants, which follow and guard them. Today, the sutra has been explained according to the doctrine of "contemplation of the mind." There are many other ways of explaining this passage, but we don’t have time for them today.
AND WHY IS THIS? THIS GREAT ELDER HAS LIMITLESS WEALTH AND ALL MANNER OF STOREHOUSES FULL TO OVERFLOWING.
Outline: This is the Part B of "Explaining the equal giving of the cart," that is b) Explaining the origin of the cart.
Having explained that the cart was so high and broad, with little bells hanging from the four sides and covered with canopies and decorated with rare treasures and surrounded by many servants, the question is raised, what is the reason for this? It is because that great elder, the Buddha, has limitless wealth. Wealth refers to Dharma treasures. They refer to the Dharma-doors taught by the Buddha.
All manner of storehouses refers to all kinds of jewel treasuries filled with precious things. These treasuries are all the Dharmas. This is an analogy for all the Dharmas. All the Dharmas in general could be said to refer to the Six Perfections and Ten Thousand Conducts. The Six Perfections are giving, morality, patience, vigor, Dhyana samadhi, and wisdom. These six are not just to be recited in order to perfect them, that is "to get to the other shore." We can't just learn to rattle off the names and think that we understand them. You have to actually practice them. You have to give. You can give wealth, dharma, or fearlessness--but you have to do it. Morality means to do no evil and do all good. Patience...well, that's the hardest. Giving is pretty easy. Morality is not too hard, but patience is the hardest of all. Why? In order to be patient you have to empty yourself of your concept of "self." Otherwise you can't be patient. Patience means taking the hard things easy. With people who are not good to you, you must act as if they were being good to you.
"But that's just being stupid," you may object.
Students of the Buddhadharma should not act too smart. If you are too smart, you've gone overboard. If you have no mark of self, no attachment to self, no view of self, you take yourself and put it aside, you don't want it. If you think, "Before I was born, who was I? Before I was even born, then who was I? Before my parents bore me, just who was I? And now that I've been born, who am I? Where did this "me" come from? What's all this about? I’m grown up; I'm a person, but that "me" is nothing but an empty name. When I blink my eyes and the dream ends, then who will I be? When I die, where will I go? Who will I be then? If you always look on the "self" as empty, as false, then you can "take the hard easily." Although people are bad to you, you won't feel that is any problem. If you study the Buddhadharma you can't just listen to it. In order to understand it you must really do it. If you really do it, you are really understanding it. This doesn't mean that all day long you eat candy and it's real sweet, eat another piece and its real sweet, and that is your patience--bearing with your enjoyment of eating candy. That is not patience. It takes something you don't like, some vexing situation has to arise and then you act as if nothing is the matter. It's no problem. It doesn't phase you because you really understand and you have control over it. Then you are "taking the hard easily." That's generally what patience is all about, but it is not easy to be that way. If you can do it, you have perfected the wonderful point of the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra. Ah...don't see your "self" as so important. That "self" in the future is going to die. Why scramble to get the best for it? Why compete for fame and profit? You should look on the mark of self as empty. There is no self.
"What if someone slugs me?" you ask. "What do I do then?"
If someone hits you, you should think of it this way: "In the past I must have hit that person and so he is hitting me now. If I didn't hit him in this life, I must have hit him or scolded him in a previous life. Last year during the Summer Session I said that if in this life you scold people, in your next life you will be beaten. If you beat people in this life then in a future life you may be murdered. If in this life you pester people in a future life they will pester you. Former cause and latter effects are very severe.
You say, "I don't believe it."
You don't? Do you have troubles? If you do, that's where they came from. You can't be patient. You can't put everything down. Whether you believe it or not, that's the way it is.
"But why is it so severe?" you ask.
If you put money in the bank, over a period of time it collects interest. If you scold people and give them a lot of trouble, they are going to collect a little interest, too. So if in a former life you scold people, they may beat you this life. If you beat them, they may kill you. If you kill someone they may end up killing your entire household. The retribution is very severe. That is why cultivators should always refrain from giving others trouble. Watch over yourself. Don't be aggressive and make trouble for no reason.
Vigor means not being lazy, being vigorous in the six periods of the day and night. For example in this Lecture Hall, my first disciple is half-vigorous and half non-vigorous. Be it in terms of Westerners, he is vigorous, but compared to the cultivators of old, he is just "half" vigorous.
Dhyana samadhi means sitting in dhyana meditation. These five perfections are also called the storehouse of blessings and virtue. The sixth perfection, Prajna wisdom, is the storehouse of wisdom. So the various Six Perfections are referred to in the line "all manner of storehouses."
Full to overflowing...The perfection of provisional wisdom is referred to in the phrase "overflowing." The perfection, of real wisdom is referred to by "full." So these are the two types of wisdom. "Full to overflowing,” means the perfection of provisional and real wisdom.
I was just talking about patience and there is something to add. For example, if someone beats or scolds you, you may try to act as if there were no self, but then you feel "Well, here I am, I mean...I'm in my body right here. I have feelings. How can I have no self? How can I put it down?" There's a wonderful dharma here; I'll tell you what it is: if someone hits you, you can just think, "Oh, I ran into the door!" Or, "I ran into the wall. I wasn't looking where I was walking..." Or "something fell on me." If a brick fell on you, you wouldn't want to hit the brick. If you did that, your hand as well as your foot would hurt. If you fight it, it's going to hurt more. If you don't, if you pretend nothing happened--that you ran into the door or whatever--then it's all over. It's hard to listen to someone scold you, but you can pretend that you don't understand them. "Oh...he's speaking English or Japanese or Spanish or French or German. I don't know what he's saying. It's not my native tongue..." Or else you can think, "He's praising me! His scolding is just a song. He's making music!" Think of ways to cope with it and then you will have no anger or affliction. If you get afflicted that means you have a karmic obstacle. People without karmic obstacles do not have afflictions. Those with afflictions have karmic obstacles. Since you have karmic obstacles, you should find ways to eradicate them. In this world there's nothing that unbearable if you really know how to practice patience. I have often told you about Maitreya's verse, which you have all rejected, no doubt, thinking it too silly; but since you don't want it, I'll just give it to you again:
The Old Fool wears ragged robes/I’m old and stupid, too. I wear clothes, which are covered with patches.
And fills himself with tasteless food/I eat tasteless food, but I get full all the same.
And mends his clothes to keep out the cold/When they rip, I just patch them up and that keeps the cold out.
And takes things as they come/Whatever happens, just happens and when it’s over, that’s it.
If someone scolds the old fool/If someone scolds me,
The old fool just says, "Fine."/That sounds really good. You are an excellent scolder and you’re making fine music.
If someone hits the old fool/
He just lays down to sleep. Would you say this was wonderful or not?
Spit in my face/How insulting!
I just let it dry. I don’t even wipe it off.
I save my energy/
And give you no affliction. Why not? If you spit on me, I don't even wipe it off. Must be a clay statue! No matter how impolite you are, he doesn't get upset. He doesn't move. He doesn't retaliate and so insulting him is like trying to clap with only one hand.
This kind of Paramita is/
The Jewel in the Wonderful. A real treasure.
Now that you’ve heard this news today/
How can you worry about not realizing the Way? How can you fail to perfect your karma of the Way? If you can't perfect it, it's because you can't put down your "self." Your "self" is bigger than Mt. Sumeru and there's no place to put it because it won't fit anywhere! Wherever you put it, that place is filled up. You must put your "self" down. Then you can understand the Buddhadharma. Those who understand the Buddhadharma cultivate patience. We who study the Buddhadharma must take care to cultivate patience. Otherwise when something happens you won't be on top of it, and the fire of ignorance will blaze 30,000 feet in the air--Whoosh! and burn off all your merit and virtue.
The firewood gathered in a thousand days
Burns up in a single spark's blaze.
One match can burn it all up. Cultivating patience is very important.
Not to speak of other people's, you may think I have no problems in this line, but actually a lot of people berate me, right to my face. But if you want to scold or hit me, go right ahead. There was a Chinese person who came and pushed me around until there was nothing I could do but bow to him! He was one of my disciples, but I bowed to him. Now that's a first in the history of Buddhism, but I won't mention his name or else you will all start bowing to him and that wouldn't be too good.
Another funny thing happened, to me when I came to America. The first year I was here the Bahai religion invited me to Arizona to teach their religion to the Indians. They asked me to go. I went there and saw the people were really suffering. They lived in places like pigstys. They had no sanitary facilities, no beds, nothing at all. Their standard of living was about like that of pigs. It was very hot and I was not wearing very many clothes and they saw the wan() character on my chest; their leader started crying. He said he was of the same family as I and now had finally met me and so he started crying. He said, "We have been hoping for a long time that you would come and save us."
I said, "Who told you that?"
He said he knew because I had the wan character on my chest. "Anyone could do that." I said. "You could have one, too." I felt that they had a very poor livelihood and were suffering a great deal and I couldn't stand it. I couldn't bear to see the misery they were in. When I came back I heard there had been an earthquake in Iran which had killed a lot of people. In Hong Kong a typhoon had killed over a hundred and sixty people. Also Russia had put a lot of missies in Cuba and America and Russia were close to going to war. Because of all these things I said, "Well I have no great power, but I will pray for world peace and pray that these disasters will abate. And I went on a fast. After the third or fourth week the reporters came and the TV people and a lot of people. At that time a Chinese person, the disciple I was just speaking of, came. When they were interviewing me he wouldn't let them talk to me but he talked to them. He said, "He doesn't eat (rice)--(in Chinese the phrase "eat" literally means, "eat rice.")--he eats bread!." I didn't eat bread. I didn't even drink tea. I drank only a cup of water a day. After five weeks I ate again. Think of it. I was fasting and people got jealous. Not only did they not protect me, they tried to destroy me. Cultivation is not easy. It's not as easy as eating candy. It's very bitter, in fact. Very bitter.
SO HE REFLECTS THUS: "MY POSSESSIONS ARE BOUNDLESS. I SHOULD NOT GIVE MY CHILDREN SMALL OR INFERIOR CARTS. ALL OF THESE YOUNGSTERS ARE MY CHILDREN WHOM I LOVE WITHOUT PARTIALITY. HAVING SUCH GREAT CARTS MADE OF THE SEVEN JEWELS, INFINITE IN NUMBER, I SHOULD GIVE THEM TO EACH ONE EQUALLY AND WITHOUT DISCRIMINATION. WHY? IF I GAVE THEM TO AN ENTIRE COUNTRY, THEY WOULD NOT RUN SHORT: HOW MUCH THE LESS IF I GAVE THEM TO MY CHILDREN!"
Outline: This is 3. Explaining the heart as equal.
So he reflects thus, the Elder thinks like this: "My possessions are boundless. My Dharmas, nothing is higher than they are; nothing more valuable. I should not give my children small or inferior carts. I should not use Small Vehicle dharmas to cross over all living beings, all the thirty children, the Sound Hearers, Conditionally Enlightened Ones and the Bodhisattvas. Now all of these youngsters, the children represent those of the Three Vehicles who have not been cultivating the Way for very long. They are just beginners, like children without much experience. Even thought they don’t have a lot of common sense, still they are my children whom I love without partiality. I love all my children." The Buddha has no partiality towards any living beings one way or the other. He is impartial in his love and compassion. Having such great carts made of the seven jewels, infinite in number. The Seven Bodhi Shares, the Eight-fold Path, the Five Roots, the Five Powers, the Four Bases of Psychic Power, the Four Right Efforts, the Four Applications of Mindfulness—the Thirty-seven Wings of Enlightenment—adorn the Great Vehicle Buddhadharma. Their number is infinite and I should give them to each one equally and without discrimination. Every kid should get a great cart. There should be no discrimination. Why? If I gave them, my valuables, my Dharma treasures, to an entire country, they would not run short. One country represents the Land of Eternal Quiescent Light and Purity. “Run short," means that the Buddhadharma never runs out. How much the less if I gave them to my children. If I gave them to everyone in the country, they would not run out. How much the less would they run short if I gave them to my children with whom I have such great affinity. So now I certainly will give each one a Great White Ox Cart.
Everyone should take a look at himself. See whether or not you have afflictions. Return the light and look: if you have no afflictions, then you have obtained the Buddhadharma. If you still have afflictions, you still have to go forward and cultivate reliably. Affliction is just "not being moved when the eight winds blow,' as in the line of Su Tung-po's poem we spoke about a few days ago. It's not easy. To say nothing of eight winds, one breath makes you angry. If that's the case you have to keep on studying and looking into the Buddhadharma. At whatever time you cease to have afflictions, that will be the time you have obtained the good points of the Buddhadharma. This is very important.