On March 24, 1997, the former Chief of Control Yuan of the Republic of China in Taiwan, Dr. Lyuan Chen, paid a visit to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB) and gave a lecture at the Buddha Hall.
It was the first day of Gwan Yin session when Dr. Chen arrived CTTB around 3:00 pm. He first viewed the sharira of the founder of CTTB, the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. He then proceeded to tour this first huge Buddhist monastery, nestled on a 488-acre lot, in North America. This tour was followed by a vegetarian dinner at the Chunkang Restaurant.
Being welcomed by the Abbot, Heng Lyu Shr, Dr. chen delivered a speech in both Chinese and English at Buddha Hall at 7:30 pm. He was initiated into Buddhism through the Dharma door of sitting in meditation at the age of 51. He said, “In the beginning I liked sitting in meditation very much. My heart was truly settled and subdued. However, thoughts would arise after a period of time. “ Dr. Chen asked why is it that spiritual cultivators nowadays cannot put dharma doors into practice? Why they are constantly vexed? He then offered an answer to his own question. The reason lies in ego---everyone is overtly self-concious. Although thoughts can be wiped out when sitting in meditation, the effect doesn’ t last long. You will be arrogant once you can sit in meditation for a relatively long time, because you will feel you are superior to others in terms of sitting in meditation.
Dr. Chen spoke heartily, “The foundation of Buddhadharma lies in the cultivation of the Bodhi mind---a determination of seeking the Buddha Way above and crossing over the living beings below. A senior cultivator in Chan meditation will figure out that one cannot keep sitting in meditation without a Bodhi mind.”
But then again, how do we cultivate the Bodhi mind? How do we break through self-consciousness? Dr. Chen suggested a method---to put oneself in other people’s place: If I were him, what would I think? If one can constantly reflect on oneself in this way, chances are the Bodhi mind can be brought up. Environmental pollution is a serious problem in this day and age. Dr. Chen attributed the problem to the pollution of the human mind. For instance, when kids play video game of war or fighting for a few hours, their minds will be inundated with the thoughts of killing and fighting. Their minds are polluted quickly in this way.
Dr. Chen believes that the perfect and all-encompassing Buddhadharma will have a great impact in the next century. He encourages everyone to vow to study the numerous dharma doors. Among the tripitika and the twelve divisions of Buddhist scripture, he singled out the Surangama Sutra, holding it in high esteem as the cultivator’s manual. He further urged laypeople to be good dharma protectors, to take refuge with the triple jewel and to respect the triple jewel of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. He advocated that among laypeople whoever hadn’t taken refuge (with the triple jewel) should do so as soon as possible.