Editor's Note: This article is continued from the August issue, No. 339. Due to a change in computer, it was left out by mistake. We hereby apologize to the author and our readers.
Sometimes, problems that involve many people or that have evolved over a long time cannot be resolved immediately, but may take a period of time. For example, sometimes it is very hard for teachers to resolve conflicts between students. To truly solve this kind of problem, teachers should not be satisfied with actions which seem fair only temporarily or are logically self-consistent.
Students need to be encouraged to develop the noble virtue of patience and to realize their own weak points. Teachers need to teach them not only to view the problem in a proper way, but also to be patient until the coming of some enlightening events. Only in this way will students adopt a new view toward the problem both in principle and in their daily life experience.
There are some great difficulties in the practical application of the above idea, which views problem-solving as a process. First of all, the whole procedure is based on mutual trust between teachers and students. However, their honest communication may be interrupted by various causes, such as when either teachers or students feel their view of self or social status is being challenged. Second, because the point of view and the sense of balance for the situation are different for each teacher and parent, it is very difficult for them to find an agreeable solution and carry it out. No wonder Confucius said, “Those pursuing different ways can hardly discuss problems together.”
In fact, it is very normal for us to run into such complicated situations due to the influence of collective karma. The very reason we are frustrated is that we tried to separate the paths of cultivation of teachers and students, and we haven’t opened up our minds. In other words, in order to cross over students, teachers must be crossed over as well. Generalizing this idea, we find that those who cultivate in a Way-place must expand their minds to include the whole world and the entire Dharma realm.
The flourishing and strength of Buddhism depends on the unified and mobilized effort of Buddhists. At present we still have to overcome a lot of hindrances, for we have not attained very high spiritual levels. The question is: How can we overcome all of the above difficulties so that we do not go against the Bodhisattvas’ great vows to rescue living beings? I'd like to quote a speech of Master Hua when his disciples disagreed with each other.
We may gain some insight from it. “Those of you who have taken refuge with me are the blood and flesh of my very own body. No matter which part of my body is cut off, it will be very painful. No matter which part of my body bleeds, my constitution will be injured. Therefore, you should all unite together. In order to cause Buddhism to flourish, you have to take the losses that others are unwilling to take and endure the insults that others are unable to endure. You must expand the measure of your mind and be sincere in your actions.”
Regarding the fruit of cultivation, there is a section in the Worthy Leader Chapter that says:
“Bodhisattvas vigorously cultivate the conduct of great compassion,
Vowing to cross over all so that everyone will come to fruition without fail.
Those who see, hear, and receive, and make offerings to them
Are all caused to obtain peace and joy.”
Since this state in front of us is so perfect, and the Flower Adornment Sutra Recitation Ceremony is going on at present, let us all make the vow that we will attain this state and accomplish such merit and virtue.
Echoes from Honoring Elders Day
By the Editorial Staff
After Honoring Elders Day, one American lady came up to the Abbot— Dharma Master Heng Lyu—and said with tears in her eyes, “I have cancer and don't know how long I’ll live. I devoted my whole life to my children, yet they have never treated me and respected me the way I have been today.”
Another elder, a retired lawyer, Phyllis Kasler, who drove for twenty minutes from Redwood Valley to participate in the event, said, “I enjoyed the day. I thought it was wonderful! I felt revered as if I had some status. I don’t know how it is in the Eastern countries today, but I think the modern Western world treats aging as more of a disease than something to be honored, you know.”