We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to study the Medicine Master Buddha Sutra. Through the profound compassion, virtue, and vows of Medicine Master Buddha, we have received the great blessing of this Dharma door. By reciting Medicine Master Buddha's name, reading the Sutra, or making offerings to him, we are able to avoid various kinds of hardships and disasters.
Of course, we should only seek the Buddha's help in times of real difficulties, and not when we can solve the problems ourselves. But, we should definitely not call for help just to test the Dharma door. If we test, then the Buddha knows we lack faith and that would be insulting the Buddha. I remember a friend who is a devout Christian. He told me that he would call for God to help whenever he had difficulties. Even when he couldn't find a missing screw while doing some carpentry at home, he would call for God's help.
Calamities such as floods hurricanes, and wars are caused by our collective karma, but the degree to which individuals suffer from these events depends on their individual karma. Natural calamities, wars, and riots occur because, collectively, we have in the past sowed the seeds for them to happen. That is, we have created bad karma and then, consequently, receive the effects. When such problems are beyond our individual control, we could try to seek help from Medicine Master Buddha.
As Buddhists, we have quite a few Dharma doors (that is, expedient means) to help us in times of danger or hardships. For example, we also have Guanyin Bodhisattva, Earth Store Bodhisattva, Amitabha Buddha, and many others. But some Buddhists are content just having these Bodhisattvas around to help them. They just go around doing all kinds of crazy things, breaking precepts, harming others and creating bad karma, and then seeking help from Buddhas and Bodhisattvas when confronted with the effects of the bad karma they have created.
This present human life of ours is very short. We run off in all directions, doing stupid things. At the last moment, just when we are about to die, we might realize that we have done nothing to justify having lived this human life. From the time we are born to the time we die, we are always seeking. Whether or not we have obtained it, is of no significance - we have just wasted our time in this life. we cannot take wealth or fame, or achievements with us.
We spend our lives doing many things that give only temporary satisfaction, and which later become meaningless and boring . We look at things, we exchange views, we get momentarily infatuated with things and become contented. Gradually, we get tired of these passing events. Things turn sour and we get remorseful and restless.
In their lifetime, what are people chasing after? Nothing but desire. Some pursue the desire for leadership, some for wealth, some for sex, others pursue the desire for fame, recognition, and benefits, and so on. These pursuits appear different, but, in reality, they are the same things.
Many people are afraid to stop running. They are afraid to look inside and face themselves, so they create activities of all kinds to keep themselves busy. People think that a good life should be cramped with lots of action, thrills, and material things. But that is actually falling far away from the Path.
I'll use an example. I used to be a personnel officer and there was another personnel officer called Eve. Being personnel officers, we get to know more about the employees than most others. As the weekends approached, Eve would walk to every employee asking them what they planned to do on the weekends. This kind of casual conversation would start as early as Wednesday, and was actually stealing company's productive time. Then, after the weekend was over, Eve would again go around talking to the staff about what they did on the weekend, and this would carry on from Monday to Tuesday. Again wasting time on idle conversation.
I overheard lots of this kind of conversation and came to the conclusion that most people find their lives empty and meaningless, and so they create lots of activities just to "kill time". They dare not sit still because it is too scary to face the emptiness inside; they are afraid of themselves and of the reality of their life.
Eve very often would talk of things that she and her family did, just to justify to themselves that they lived satisfactorily. People acquire material things to feel they have lived well; look for fun and thrills; look for lots of action, and so on. In doing so, they are only feeding their six sense organs, and this goes on and on. When they cannot physically find satisfaction, they take drugs to imagine it. The grasping gets stronger. Greed for all these ways to satisfy the sense organs grows stronger day by day. At the same time, hatred and disenchantment with things, people, and events also grows every minute.
Is life meant only for pursuing these meaningless things? No! Our sole purpose on earth is to wake up from this dream we are in. This is a dream because we have forgotten about the past. The things we do today will become just a dream tomorrow - sometines a vague dream and sometimes even forgotten. We can't foresee the future. We can't make the present stay. We don't even have a grasp on any of these things. There is nothing in this world that is ultimately ours.
Even our body doesn't belong to us. If it really belonged to you then you would be able to control it, to make it the way you want. As we grow older each day, our eyes turn bad, our hearing turns bad, our teeth fall out. We may put on reading glasses, wear hearing aids, or use dentures,but then, that is depending on external resources,i.e. external conditions. None of these belong to us.
If this body really belonged to us, then we should be able to tell it not to get sick or the head not to ache. But we have no control over this body of ours. The body is just made up of the four elements; earth, water, heat, and air. The body is not real. So, It is not worth our entire life doing crazy things, running in all directions for those temporary pleasures. If we drop all those attachments, wake up from the dream, and take control of our life, then we will have put some meaning into our life. The highest purpose of this life is to wake up from this dream, and stop all future dreams.
Our long-term purpose should be to earnestly cultivate, and stop creating bad karma so that we don't need to seek external help. Look within, the potential Buddha is within you.