Ven. Master Hua's Lectures at Long Beach Monastery on April 6. 1993
Na Mwo Sa Dan Two Su Chye Dwo Ye E La He Di San Myau San Pu Two Sye (3x)
First let me ask you all a question. If someone were to criticize Long Beach Sagely Monastery, how should you respond to him? Let me hear what your opinions are, quickly! Don't drag your heels. (Someone answers: He can laugh or scold as he pleases.) Ah, and what do other people say? (Someone answers: We can thank him.) What was that? (Someone answers: Tell him we will do better.) What did he say? Who else has an opinion? (Someone answers: Pay no attention to him.) What else? Who has an opinion? None of you have any courage! (Someone answers: He is my Good and Wise Teacher.) Ah, can you really see him that way? (Someone answers: First, repent. Then give him an image of the Buddha, so that he will have an affinity with the Buddha, and stop scolding.) Will he really listen to you? (Everyone laughs.) Now is the time for all of us to investigate this question, so anyone can speak out. Whoever has a viewpoint can express it, and everyone can evaluate it and decide which view is the proper one. (Heng Ywe: We could invite him in for tea.) What if you ask him to come in and he just destroys the Buddha images? (Everyone laughs.) Who suggested this? You have to announce your name. Anyone who speaks has to announce his name. (Heng Ywe: Gwo Gwei.) Oh, Gwo Gwei! Gwo Gwei, you are always on the moon, so how can you invite him in? (Everyone laughs. Her name "Ywe" means moon.) I have spoken about this question countless times in my lectures. If someone curses Long Beach Sagely Monastery, you all should bow to him three times. If he scolds your Master, you can bow to him nine times. (Everyone laughs.) Then you are a true disciple of mine, and you are really speaking the Dharma for him as well! That's why I said all of you have no courage. I don't want you to fight and argue with him, as if he were your worst enemy. That's not the way. This is the way. Does anyone still have an answer to the question I asked? No, I've already given it away, so I will not ask for your answers anymore. Any answers given now will not count, for the secret of Heaven has already been revealed. It's not very intelligent to answer now.
Jen-hwa You: Venerable Master, if a person slanders Long Beach Sagely Monastery or yourself, you feel we should bow to him. I have an opinion on this matter, and I don't know if it is correct. I would like the Master's guidance. Of course, according to the Buddhadharma, we should do as the Master said, and not care if that person laughs at us or curses us. This is what we should do if we want to cultivate and keep our minds pure. This definitely makes sense to me. However, if we want to propagate the Buddhadharma in the world and save living beings on a vast scale, giving them the maximum opportunity to learn about Buddhism, we should eliminate any unnecessary antagonism. Therefore, if someone scolds me, I will communicate with him in an appropriate way, so that he can understand. When there is no other way, the Buddhadharma relies on affinities. If there are no affinities, then the issue is not forced. By communicating we may get him to change his mind. The only reason he slanders is because he misunderstands, so if we can explain things to him, the conflict will immediately disappear. Then that person will be on good terms with us, and the obstacles that Long Beach Sagely Monastery confronts will be one fewer, and the propagation of the Buddhadharma will be smoothly carried out.
Life is impermanent, and if we have great ambitions and we meet someone who opposes us, we must resolve the matter in a felicitous way. That's the only way we can really bring forth the resolve to cross over living beings. If we do not say anything, and just let the matter develop, he will conclude from our failure to respond or explain ourselves that what he says is right. Other people will also think he is right, and will support him. And so invisibly, our obstructions become greater and greater, and if this unfortunate situation continues, it will be very difficult to propagate Buddhism. The Master is very compassionate, yet from the perspective of propagating the Buddhadharma, I think it's better to a little more positive. (Everyone applauds.)
Venerable Master: I agree with what you said. However, there are different kinds of circumstances and causes behind them. What I proposed can stop wars without mobilizing troops and without using speech. It uses gentleness to overcome obstinacy, weakness to overcome strength. I know that the principle I just mentioned is something we ordinary people cannot practice! (Laughter.) There is no one who can say that if he hears someone slander Long Beach Sagely Monastery, he will make three bows to him. Do you believe it? My method is not easy to practice, but if you can use it, it really works. That's because if we refuse to argue with a person, he will become repentant and go away to think it over. Why is it that when I scold other temples, the people in those temples hear about it and bow a few times to me? What's the significance of that? They will think it over. However, many people do not know how to use this method of overcoming hardness with softness and conquering strength with weakness. Many people want to combat hardness with hardness, and pit strength against strength. In this matter, if you can truly become small, then you can truly become great. Only with the utmost gentleness can you subdue the utmost obstinacy. This is how I am, indirectly, but when I speak about this Dharma, most people are not willing to apply it. That's why even though I have said it, it's the same as if I hadn't spoken about it.