上人：You find out.（你自己找。）
*The first half of this lecture appears in Vajra Bodhi Sea, Issue#262 , from page 13
Ven. Master: So, anyone who has the hardest question please bring it up. If I can answer, I will do my best to answer you. And if I cannot, I will honestly tell you that I have no wisdom to answer your question. I hope Father Rogers will please help me answer any question that I cannot answer. Time is precious for all you young people. You can't afford to waste it. I'm an old fogey, my time isn't worth much. So, quickly ask the questions you want to ask. I'm already nervous and sweating, waiting to answer your questions.
Student: Could the Venerable Master give me information or help me to find inner knowledge about the subject of meditation? Can he offer anything that would help me with my practice of meditation so that I will understand more clearly the teachings of Buddhism and the teachings of other religions I've studied?
Ven. Master: Well, first of all, literally in Chinese; you "strike up" a meditation and so the answer is, if you want to meditate you have to like to be hit, to be struck. You have to be able to endure the pain if you really want to meditate. And when you are
not meditating, you have to be patient. If people hit you, if they scold you, you have to take it, to the point that when the Eight Winds blow, you have to endure them, you do not want to be turned by them. Years ago I had a high school teacher disciple who had taken refuge with me. He came to me and said, "I have students who are really impossible to teach, they don't listen to me at all. What can I do with them?"
I then gave him a method that was efficacious; it really worked. It was a mantra, he first one ever transmitted in English. Would you like to know what the mantra was? I won't keep it from you; it is not a secret. This is the mantra:
Gotta have patience,
Don't get angry
Swo Pwo He."
Then he came back to me and said, "Shr Fu, This mantra really works!". I believe you haven't met the person who asked for this Dharma. His name is Doug Powers. If you truly want to study meditation, then you have to learn to be patient. You have to be patient with the pain and with the cold. You have to be patient with the heat, with the wind, and with the rain. In every situation, you have to be patient. You also have to be patient when the Eight Winds blow.
What are the Eight Winds? Praise, and ridicule, pain and joy, profit and loss, fame and infamy.
So, whatever situation happens, don't be turned by it. When people praise you, don't think it's fantastic. Don't say, "Oh, I should go thank that person for saying such nice things about me!" If people ridicule you, you shouldn't be turned by that either. And no matter how much pain or misery you meet., you have to endure that, too, and not be disturbed by it. When happy states arise in your meditation, you shouldn't be moved by them, either. Don't let it be that if good things happen, you are happy and if bad things happen, you get upset.
Don't be turned by either pain or pleasure. And if people slander you and say bad things about you, there's no need to get angry. If you have a good reputation, you need not be attached to that either. For example, Su Tung-po,the Chinese poet, got really angry when the Patriarch Fo Yin said two words to him. We shouldn't want to imitate him.
Student: Would you tell me the difference between patience and just enduring something? Are they the same, or is patience something different than just enduring it, just taking it?
Ven. Master: With patience you keep your even temper; you don't blow up. That is patience. Also, when you meditate, if you cannot take a bit of pain, it shows you cannot be patient. Patience and endurance are similar in meaning. However you can keep the bomb from going off, that is the most important thing.
Prof. Akpinar: I think there is a difference in English between the two. To endure means to be tough. To be patient means to have a good disposition. Endurance is a physical thing more or less, whereas patience is something soft, a disposition that goes along with things.
Ven. Master: Please ask if you have more questions. Otherwise, I must leave.
Student: Would the Master enlighten me to this: when one meditates, who or what is the meditator?
Ven. Master: You find out.
Student: You said that when we meditate, we should have patience with all our feelings. So, I am wondering, should we express our feelings or should we hold them inside? Sometimes I hold them all inside because I want to be patient, and I find later on that I want to explode. What shall I do about that?
Ven. Master: If you are really being patient, then you want to empty yourself, it's not that you hold your feelings inside. What use is it to hold them all inside? Why do you want to keep all that garbage inside for? If you hold feelings inside, then your guts get really filthy! The power of an atomic bomb is really great, but represssed feelings have more power than an atomic bomb. If you are not afraid of being pulverized by it, then go ahead and bottle up your feelings. That idea is really scary.
Student: You mentioned earlier that every religion has its good and bad points. What are the bad points of Buddhism?
Ven. Master: Buddhism has a lot of shortcomings. One is cheating people, taking people's money and using it for themselves. For example, a monk will tell people to make offerings to him so that they may plant blessings. But his blessings are all gone. Basically, a monk or nun, should not touch money. But why do so many left home people still have money in their pockets? Left home people in Buddhism should only eat one meal a day, at noon, and should sleep under a tree in one place only for one night. No matter the religion, whether it has a lot of followers or a few, either a great religion or a small one, they all have similar failings. But what we do is cover up our shortcomings. We don't let others see them. We only allow others to see our good points and we keep the bad things covered. Within each religion, we can find Patriarchs, if there are both few short-comings and few strong points, and if everything is done properly. Now all of the religions of the world are claiming they are poverty-stricken, and this is a shortcoming.
Student: Can the Master instruct me as to how I might strengthen my will?
Ven. Master: Why do you want to stengthen your will?
Same person replies: Because it's not strong enough.
Ven. Master: Who took it away from you?
Same person replies: I have it here, right with me.
Ven. Master: If it's there with you, why come and ask me how to strengthen it?
Same person: Good question. Practice it.
Ven. Master: If your will is yours, then why are you asking me about it?
If it is yours, then just take it back. If you're the one who has lost it, you need to find it and take it back yourself. You shouldn't ask me how you can get it back.
Same person: It's not for sure that I lost it, but I do want to strengthen it.
Ven. Master: When did you lose it? why do you have so much willpower invested in running after women?
Same person: I understand! (Much laughter.)
Ven. Master: Since you can strengthen your will to do that, then how come you can't find the will power to do other things?
Same person: Well, it's come back again!
Ven. Master: Quickly! questions!
Student: How can someone who is not necessarily a Buddhist learn to let go of bitterness that affects relationships with people around you?
Ven. Master: What is the bitterness?
Student: Like when a boy you like doesn't pay attention to you.
Ven. Master: What problem do you have with that?
Student: (Unable to reply.)
Ven. Master: "Everything is a test to see what you will do. If you don't recognize what's in front of you, if I don't recognize what is in front of me, if he doesn't recognize what is in front of him, then we have to start anew." If you have difficulty, then you should
"truly recognize your own faults and not talk about other people's faults. Because other people's faults are just your own faults. If you can be of one substance with everybody, then that is real compassion." If you can see that other people's faults and your own are the same, then that's really being able to have
great compassion. If you can think this way, then there will be no difficulties or bitterness at all.
Student: First I want to say that I am really happy to be here and get this small taste over the weekend of Buddhism, and I hope to read more on it. I am of the Jewish faith and the Master several times referred to the five great religions and Judaism was not in there, which may be understandable, but I would want to know how Buddhism relates or how it can be incorporated into Judaism?
Ven. Master: Judaism is just Buddhism, and Buddhism is just Catholicism. Same medicine, different bottle. So, there are no real differences between the Five Religions. People's natures develop differently, yet it all still comes from the Buddha nature. No matter what religion I meet with, I feel I am a member of that religion. I don't have my own religion. I'm like a little ant or mosquito, I want to drink a little of whoever's blood it is. Wherever I am, I want to run around a little. I myself am nothing but a small ant or a mosquito. Some people started a rumor that I'm a frog spirit, and I said, "OK, that's fine."
Student: I have a question about desires and I was wondering if I could get some advice on how to differentiate between wrong desires and right desires.
Ven. Master: If you are being selfish, then it's wrong; if you're not being selfish, then it's right. If what you are doing accords with true principle, then it's right. If what you are doing does not go along with true principle, then it's wrong. If it is something that is just going to benefit yourself, then it's wrong. If it's something that's going to benefit others, then it's right. And to get into it any deeper, I don't know. So, if your desire is something that you can let everyone know about, then it is right. If your desire is something to feel shameful about, then this is a wrong desire. If in front of people you behave yourself like a gentleman, but in the darkness when no one sees you, you act like a ghost, and if, when you attend to business, you cheat people, then this kind of behavior is all wrong.
True principle and human desire are not far from each other; if there is one mind, then they are close to each other. I'm afraid today I don't have enough time to explain the Ten Dharma Realms in detail. But twenty years ago I wrote a poem describing them. If any one of you is interested, this book has been translated into
English and you can find it here.
I'll just tell you their names for the time being. There are the Dharma Realms of Buddhas, of Bodhisattvas, of Pratyeka Buddhas, of Arhats, (Sound-Hearers), of Gods, of humans, of Asurasa, of animals, ghosts, and hell-dwellers.
Well you should all go eat right away. You'll never get full by just listening to me. It's time to eat! I hope after hearing this talk, everyone will not be as stupid as I am.