The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is the headquarters of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association. It is said,
There is nothing which does not flow forth from this Dharma Realm,
And nothing which does not return to this Dharma Realm.
The people who come to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas are ordinary, common people. Although the City is said to be a holy place, a place where Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Patriarchs are created, no one is a Buddha, a Bodhisattva, or a Patriarch when he or she first arrives. Imperfections and mistakes are unavoidable. No one is perfect. If we were perfect, we'd already be Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Patriarchs.
In reality, we are just ordinary people who are trying to gradually get rid of our bad habits and faults. Since we're less than perfect, we're bound to make mistakes in our work. Nevertheless, we aim to improve ourselves and to become perfect. Our wish to cultivate, to reach perfection, to learn from worthy people, is very precious. It's only to be feared that selfish thoughts of benefiting ourselves will prevent us from changing our faults and practicing goodness. Then it will be all over for us. If we wish to become Buddhas, to practice the Bodhisattva Path, and to follow Universal Worthy Bodhisattva in making his Ten Great Vows, we'll definitely accomplish our goal. For now, we should all be tolerant of each other's imperfections. As it's said,
Patience is a priceless jewel which no one knows how to use.
If you could learn to use it, everything would go your way.
I often say to all of you: "Everything's a test." We don't know what offenses we've created in past lives spanning many kalpas. We don't know what causal connections we have with others, or what unfair things we did to them, which have now resulted in various troubles and complications. At this point, we should think, "Everything's a test, to see what I will do." What should I do? It's not a matter of what someone else should do. If I look to someone else, then I'm seeking outside.
Everything's a test, to see what you will do.
Mistaking what's before your face, you'll have to start anew.
Everything's a test, to see what you will do. What will you yourself do? If you don't recognize the state, you'll have to start anew. Everything's a test, to see what he will do. If you understand him, you won't blame him. However, if you don't recognize the state, you'll have to start anew. This verse is telling us to seek within ourselves. Don't look at me or him. Be like the Bodhisattvas:
Truly recognize your own faults.
Don't discuss the faults of others.
Others' faults are just my own.
Being of the same substance is called great compassion.
Always have a mind of great compassion, and take pity on living beings. You should think, "I'm not able to teach and transform living beings because I lack virtue. If my virtue were full, if I were adorned with the ten thousand virtues, no one would fail to be receptive to my teaching." With that kind of attitude, you won't seek outside for the source of the problem. Truly return the light and illumine within. Whenever things don't go your way, seek the cause within yourself.
If people fail to respond to your kindness,
Ask yourself if your kindness is genuine.
If people refuse to listen to you,
Reflect upon your own wisdom.
If people fail to return your courtesy,
See if your attitude of respect is true.
Whenever you fail in your endeavors, seek the cause in yourself.
If we can truly be like this, then we will soon reach Buddhahood and Bodhisattvahood, not to mention sagehood.
If people fail to respond to your kindness, / Ask yourself if your kindness is genuine. If you try to be kind to people but they remain aloof, you should reflect to see whether your kindness still falls short.
If people refuse to listen to you, / Reflect upon your own wisdom. For example, when my disciples don't follow instructions, I ask myself, "Is it the case that I as a teacher lack sufficient virtue? Is that why my disciples are rebellious and don't listen to me?"
If people fail to return your courtesy, / See if your attitude of respect is true. If other people pay no attention to you when you greet them, ask yourself if your greeting came from sincere respect.
Whenever you fail in your endeavors, seek the cause in yourself. If the outcome of your efforts is not satisfactory, you ought to reflect upon yourself and see where you have gone wrong.
To be continued