Propagation of the Buddhadharma Is Everyone's Responsibility
A talk given on October 6, 1990,at the Amaravati Buddhist Centre in England
In 1990, the Fifth International Delegation of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association and the Dharma Realm Buddhist University made its first European tour to propagate the Buddhadharma. The delegation returned to the United States at the end of October 1990, after a month-long tour which included visits to England, Belgium, Poland, and France. Wherever the delegation went, its members sincerely and straightforwardly explained the true principles of Buddhism.
In order to perpetuate the heritage of the Buddha's wisdom and cause the Proper Dharma to last long in the world, the Venerable Master Hua advocated to his European audiences that the northern and southern traditions of Buddhism unite and draw in other religions as well. He exhorted people to pay attention to the problems of education, for it is only by reforming education that we can hope to save the world and its people. For the sake of carrying on the Buddha's work, he invited aspiring translators to come to the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and cooperate in translating the entire Tripitaka (Buddhist canon) into all the world's languages. That would enable the Buddhadharma to nourish people's minds and draw in all beings.
The Venerable Master's vast and deeply compassionate vows, his lofty virtue, and his extensive practices won the respect of people wherever he went. The Master observed people's needs and dispositions and taught them accordingly. This volume, Dharma Talks in Europe, is a compilation of the more than twenty talks and lectures that he gave in Europe.
Wherever I go, it's the same as being at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. There isn't any difference. That's because we are of the same substance as the Dharma Realm. I am extremely happy to have the rare opportunity to come here today. The Buddha spoke all Dharmas in response to the needs and potentials of living beings. Therefore, whether we are of the northern or the southern tradition, we should bring forth the Bodhi resolve to help living beings end birth and death, leave suffering, and attain happiness. Everyone should understand the genuine teachings of the Buddha. We shouldn't say, "We represent orthodox Buddhism and you don't." If we inflict harm upon ourselves like that, it's of no benefit to Buddhism. We want to establish communication between the northern and southern traditions of Buddhism, causing them to unite and merge into one. The southern tradition shouldn't keep going south, and the northern tradition shouldn't keep going north. Everyone should meet in the middle, because northern and southern Buddhists are all disciples of the Buddha. It shouldn't be that you do your thing, and we do ours, so that the strength of Buddhism gets dispersed into different sects.
When I first left the home-life, I looked into why it was that although the doctrines of Buddhism are so perfect and complete, there are so few people in the world who study them. What was the reason for this? After looking into it, I discovered that it was because the Buddhist scriptures have not yet been translated into the languages of every nation. That is why Buddhism has not become widespread in the world. We have not done like the Catholics and Protestants, who have translated the Bible into every language, so that the people of all nations can understand it as soon as they read it. And so when I left the home-life, I vowed that although I did not know any foreign languages, I wanted to see the Buddhist scriptures translated into every language. Up to this day my vow has not completely been fulfilled, but I am continuing to walk in this direction. If there are people who share the same wish, no matter what country you come from, I hope you will stand together with us and work with us to accomplish this important project.
To be continued