It seems no more than the twinkling of an eye, yet I have been living at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas for almost two years now. Regarding Buddhism, my feelings are an indescribable mixture: sour, sweet, bitter, hot, east, west, south, and north. I have a lot to say but don't know where to begin. Reflecting on the life-path I have walked for more than twenty years, thinking of this chaotic, deluded world, thinking of the affinities of love and hate that connect me to others in this world, and thinking of the long, difficult road ahead, it seems I can only keep silent. There are too many things to be done, too many bonds of affinity to be untied.
I think I am not the only one in this situation; everyone in this world is like this. We all have a book of very confused accounts that can never be settled. It's ironic that most people do not realize the danger and sadness of being in this situation. They still bustle about, happily letting the days pass by. I really want to grab the ear of each one of those still in delusion and yell, "Have you not heard? Have you not seen? Everything is warning you that this is a mud pit! This is the biggest, most dangerous trap!"
I have not studied Buddhism for very long, only a little over three years. I know a bit of the principles, but nothing in terms of practice. My causes and conditions for coming to study Buddhism are quite simple. I used to always want to be the best. I was very greedy; I wanted to be number one in everything. When I was in school, I had to be better than others not only in the academic subjects, but also in arts and crafts. I always came out in first place, from elementary school through high school, both in the city and in the province. At sixteen, I passed the examinations and enrolled in the best science and technology university in China. However, the situation in the university was different. The most elite students from all over the country converged in my class. Among the more than thirty students, there were five or six provincial valedictorians. (There are a total of about thirty provinces in China.) Every student was the best. Under the circumstances, my ambition of being number one was thwarted. During that period, I received great psychological and intellectual stimulation. I began a vast in-vestigation of various psychological, philosophical, and religious texts, looking into their methods and theories, and pondering the true meaning of life. My initial motive was to find a magic bullet that would put me ahead of others. I studied human physiology, trying to figure out how I could achieve a photographic memory and how I could always be full of energy while not sleeping too much, and so on. At the time, psychic power and Qigung were very popular in China, and I went to learn those with a very greedy mind. Up to the time I came to the United States to further my study, I was still groping painfully in the darkness of desire and greed, searching for a way to be liberated from all kinds of suffering. By pure chance, some Buddhist books came into my hands. I finished reading them in no time at all, and suddenly I understood. Buddhist principles are really the truth in the world. I found in the Buddha's philosophy perfect and thorough answers to the questions of life and existence which had been puzzling me for a long time. Before I began studying Buddhism seriously, I didn't even dare to dream of finding perfectly satisfactory answers to those questions, because, seen from the viewpoint of ordinary thinking, some of those questions seemed unresolvable. One of the basic questions is: Why do I (people) live? The essentially empty, hollow nature of all phenomena had been entangling my mind like a demon. What on earth do we seek for in our lives? Doesn't everything eventually disappear?
I am a natural science major, and I was once infatuated with modern science. Due to my curiosity about the truth of the universe, I had looked into some of the research being done in modern science, which claimed to be "searching for truth." Science nowadays, despite its great accomplishments, is still very naive in its knowledge of the phenomena of life, spirituality, and psychology, in the aspect of the origin of matter; and in the investigation of supermacroscopic and submicroscopic realms. It is even more naive in regard to the phenomena of Qigung and psychic power. Its method of research and the framework of its philosophy have already guaranteed its failure in these areas. On the other hand, the Buddhadharma is, in its essence, the true science. The Buddha very accurately pointed out the true, bright path of returning to discover and dig out the truth from within. Hasn't the reality already demonstrated this point? In today's scientfically advanced era, people are still dying of starvation and illness in great numbers; they still suffer mental and spiritual injuries and kill each other; they are still overwhelmed by doubt and delusion psychologically. The first priority of true science should be to take care of these problems, and not just to single-mindedly rush, huffing and puffing, to do research on how many leaves were on the old tree yesterday.
I'd like to advise everyone not to strive and struggle amidst the false culture of the present day. Hurry up and use your precious life and energy to discover the truth of the inner self! Then, one of these days, you will come to thoroughly understand the original face of the myriad things.
Everyone, quickly get on the proper, bright, and great path of the world!