萬佛城金剛菩提海 Vajra Bodhi Sea
萬佛城金剛菩提海 Vajra Bodhi Sea


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Some Thoughts on Reading
the Venerable Master Hsüan Hua's Dharma Talks

忻昱     文
By Xin Li

Even though some of the talks are only a few sentences long, every word is valuable advice, and every sentence contains multiple levels of meaning.








After reading the Dharma Talks of Venerable Master Hua, I realized that every Dharma Talk by a good and wise advisor is a gem of Dharma. If the Dharma Flower Sutra is the king of sutras and leads one to become a Buddha, and the Shurangama Sutra is the sutra that helps to open one's wisdom, then the Venerable Master's Dharma Talks are simply the combination of these two Mahayana sutras. There is no dharma that they do not encompass. Every single word is the sweet dew of Dharma rain.

Even though some of the talks in the six published volumes are only a few sentences long, every word is valuable advice, and every sentence contains multiple levels of meaning. Ordinary people see what is obvious; well-versed people see what is profound. It is subtle and wonderful. The talks contain both worldly and transcendental Dharma. Everyone can benefit from them. The Dharma Talks given by the Venerable Master Hua are the spiritual provisions and source of wisdom that all people need. In this Dharma Ending Age, they serve as a bright lamp which shines through all living beings' ignorance, gradually lighting up their own natures. If everyone who reads these books can practice according to them, then these books will be a brilliant star which can avert the various calamities and misfortunes menacing the world today.

Through careful, sincere investigation of the Venerable Master's Dharma Talks and hard cultivation, many Buddhists in China have obtained the powers of the Five Eyes and Six Spiritual Penetrations. Accordingly, they have brought forth the Bodhi resolve. They are wholeheartedly doing their best to help many others understand the principle of cause and effect, depart from evil and do all good, and leave suffering and attain bliss. As a result of this, the latter also bring forth the resolve to study the Buddhadharma and universally help all living beings. Without a good and wise advisor's personal guidance, they investigate his Dharma Talks carefully and practice accordingly with faith, vows and sincerity. Yet they have such a great accomplishment. Not only do they have good roots from previous lives, this also proves that if one has no doubt in a good and wise advisor's words, then all the true words spoken by the Buddhas and Boddhisattvas will inspire one's great wisdom to understand the inconceivable wonder of the Buddhadharma, the mind-dharma, and the dharma of living beings.

A proverb says: "In books one can find a golden house." What I would say is that the Venerable Master's Dharma Talks are simply the wonderful discourses of the Buddha; they are the wonderful Buddhadharma. The Venerable Master's Dharma Talks reveal one's bad habits and ugly side, but most precious are the wonderful prescriptions the Venerable Master compassionately gives, enabling ignorant people who commit offenses to save themselves as well as others. The Ten Dharma Realms are not beyond a single thought. The purpose of life is seen at a glance. All living beings' suffering and ignorance are based upon bad karma created in the past. If one wishes to leave suffering and attain bliss, to end birth and death, and to stop revolving in the six paths, one must follow the instructions of a good and wise advisor. Whether you become a Buddha or not depends upon yourself, because no one can stand in for you. By the same principle, one who ignores instructions and does evil deeds, but does not do wholesome deeds, may fall into the hells.

The mysteries and transformations of the myriad things in the universe are even harder to understand or conceive of; however, after reading the Venerable Master's simple and clear explanations, they are no longer difficult or confusing. As it is said, in the trichiliocosm, all dharmas are made from the mind alone. The four elements are all empty; they exist when causes and conditions come together. Due to their attachment to pursuing the five worldly desires, and to the poisons of greed, hatred and stupidity, people are obstructed from seeing the inherent nature. Caught up by afflictions and ignorance, they cannot understand the principles. They only have the small self, and fail to see the great self. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, out of the great compassion of oneness with all, speak the Dharma expediently to rescue all beings. Those who have faith see the Way; those who practice attain the Way. By cultivating in accord with the Dharma, one eradicates demonic states so that the Buddha state can manifest.

In addition to studying the Sutras, Vinaya and Shastras, and vigorously cultivating precepts, samadhi and wisdom, it is even more important for a Buddhist to rely on a good and wise teacher. A good and wise teacher is one who can really practice the Six Guidelines of no fighting, no greed, no seeking, no selfishness, no pursuing personal advantages, and no lying. Before the Buddha entered Nirvana, he told his disciples that after his Nirvana they should take the precepts as their teacher. If a disciple is frequently unable to be near his good and wise teacher, it is even more essential that he remember his teacher's advice and not forget it. As disciples of the Venerable Master, we should all read and study his Dharma Talks and put them into practice. If we can do this, then we are his true disciples and true Buddhists, and we will not disappoint our kind teacher's painstaking efforts to teach us.


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