Q: I think that between wisdom and stupidity there must be a relationship. When one engages, the other must decrease.
Ven. Master Hua: This is wisdom, (showing the palm of his hand); this is stupidity (showing back of the hand). Where do you draw the dividing line between stupidity and wisdom? This is my stupid point of view. Now I'm going to advertise to you, talking about where my stupidity comes from. My stupidity was with me ever since I was small. My wisdom also followed me. These two followed me. I thought to get rid of the stupidity, but I couldn't lose it. I thought to keep my wisdom, but I had nowhere to keep it. That being the case, I ceased to care if I was stupid or wise.
From the age of twelve, I felt I was very unfilial to my parents, and I wanted to be filial. But since I came from a poor family, I had no money, I had no way to express it to them. So I thought to do something I could afford, and began to bow to my parents every day, repenting of my faults, admitting my mistakes, discovering how nice my parents were. After a while, I started thinking that I should bow to the great sages of the world, and all the great worthy ones of all nations, the good people, the great filial people in the world, men with integrity, women with righteousness, great heroes, great people too, I should bow to them every day. Whether they knew this or not I didn't care. I just wanted to exhaust my stupid mind. Later I remembered what the Buddha said about all living beings having the Buddha-nature, and all could become Buddhas. He also said all men are my fathers, all women are my mothers. After I considered this, that to the exhaustion of empty space and throughout the Dharma realm there are none who have not been my father and there are none who have not been my mother, I then bowed to all of them. So I bowed to all the living beings in the world, including animals in the air and on the land, also to the greatly evil people: I hoped they would change their faults and go towards the good. I also hoped the six kinds of animals, horses, cows, sheep, chickens, dogs, and pigs, could change their faults and go towards the good too; and that they will plant good roots so that in the future, they can cultivate and become Buddhas. At that time I was stupid to that degree. I was willing to be friends with the smallest like the ants and mosquitoes, so I bowed to them. I felt that I was about the same as mosquitoes and ants. I don't want to project myself as though, "I alone am honored."
So I was stupid ever since I was born. All my life till now, no matter what I do, I fulfill my responsibilities without seeking rewards. This is my stupid-within-stupid behavior. Whoever saw me would laugh at me. I alse like them to laugh at me. The more they laugh, the happier I am. I bet you never expected to find such a small mosquito or tiny ant in San Francisco.
Q: How one realizes how small you are, or how are you able to have the strength to do the great things? Is it that you see the great things you do as being very small in themselves?
Ven. Master Hua: There's no great or small things. Many small things make up something big. When there are a few great things, they become small. There's no borderline between great and small. Do as much as you can. Never mind if they're great things or small things. If you want to tally up this account, then, it's for certain you can't sleep.
Q: When I talking to people from the Judeo-Christian religion, there isn't a way to resolve the question of the soul. They think that there's no such thing as reincarnation.
Ven. Master Hua: The elementary school student, they won't comprehend the high school curriculum. The high school students, they won't understand the content of the college curriculum. The college student, he understanding the elementary school curriculum and high school curriculum, and he's studying the college curriculum. When he goes to college, he'll know without your telling. So, whether people believe it or not is only a matter of time. It is also a question whether or not people are mature. So, there's no need to worry about this question.
Q: This morning we heard if you eat too much you cannot attain wisdom. Why is the Buddha depicted with overweight and a fat stomach?
Ven. Master Hua: I have not seen the Buddha, I don't know.
Moderator: Thank you distinguished speakers, and thank you all for coming. Please come again.