Good Knowing Advisors, all of us who come to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas begin with a wholesome resolve. What resolve? We all hope to change our faults and renew ourselves; to get rid of what is evil and go toward what is good, to dispel the false and keep the true. This is a very rare resolve for Bodhi. It represents the good roots that we have planted in many past lives. Because of this foundation of roots we are able to gather together here today in a pure Way-place that is in accord with Dharma. We can abide peacefully and do what we should do as Buddhist disciples. Then we won't waste the good roots that we have accumulated in many past lives.
But in this Dharma-ending age, living beings' good roots are quite scarce. We should not think that the few good roots we planted in the past are sufficient. From now on we should carefully retain those good roots, nourish and protect them, and thus not let this supreme opportunity go by in vain.
When we first made the decision to come to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, each of us had different reasons for doing so. Every one's situation was also different; some came here easily, some had a hard time getting here. But regardless of how it was, we all share the same experience of having broken through all the obstacles and coming here at last. What kind of strength was aiding us? That strength came as a result of the Great Knowing one's compassionate vows' intertwining and responding with the bright nature within us.
We didn't come here because we lacked food to eat, clothes to wear, or a place to live. We all came here because we had a very high ideal. That ideal was to rectify Buddhism and benefit living beings. With such an ideal in mind, we all should earnestly and intently examine ourselves. Even an ordinary person would say, "I must reflect upon myself three times a day." How much the more those of us who came here because we want to cultivate and end birth and death. After coming here, have we truly brought forth a true resolve? Have we returned the light to seek within ourselves? Or we have been returning the light only to illuminate others and never illuminate ours. We should be alert to this.
It is said, "In a harmonious Way-place together we cultivate the resolve in the way. Reviving and causing the holy teaching to flourish, we unite our hearts." In a harmonious Way-place everyone has his share of duty. If we have forgotten our own duty then we will let down the Triple Jewel, our teachers and elders, living beings, and our parents of many past lives. That is why true cultivation lies in our mind, and must be practiced by our body and mouth. We must train ourselves, nourish ourselves, and act as our own good knowing teacher instead of being our own bad teacher.
The World Honored said, "Why have I been able to arrive at proper enlight-enment? It is because I am not lax." The Buddha always urged himself on, and was never lax. That is how he achieved the unsurpassed equal and proper enlightenment. How much the more should we who are scarce in blessings be so.
The ancient virtuous ones say that our mind is just like a very obstinate donkey that never listens to orders. But if we often whip and urge it on, this dull donkey will advance. We should all consider ourselves people who will advance and never retreat. It is better to walk slowly than to walk fast and then quit before reaching the destination. In cultivating, we should strive to be up in the front. We should beat the time because life is short. To strive to be in the front does not mean to do it where people can see it. That would go against the first great principle of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas: not to contend.
How did the ancient virtuous one accumulate so much precious experience in cultivation? In general, they upheld the six great principles of the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.
We should not think that the six great principles are stale talk. If they don't sound fresh anymore we should ask ourselves whether or not we have fulfilled them. If we have not fulfilled them, this is the best opportunity for us to start from the most basic place. Without the most basic foundation we can not make the long journey. This is called, "A pavilion in mid-air" "aiming at what is high and far" "going for the grandeur and fond of merits" This is fatal for cultivators.