Wednesday, August 20, 1975 (afternoon)
But "the teaching of people" is not an all-inclusive term, so we will give it yet another name, "the teaching of living beings." All living beings are included within it. This includes the living beings who fly in the air, those who walk on the earth, and those who live in the waters, as well as all the plants and trees. All the trees have living beings inhabiting them. Living beings are born from a conflux of changing conditions. When the causes and conditions conjoin, living beings are born. So I advocate that Buddhism be renamed, "the teaching of people," and that that name be further changed to "the teaching of living beings."
What is more, "the teaching of living beings" can be renamed "the teaching of the mind." Because all living beings have minds, they can all become Buddhas. Thus we call it "the teaching of the mind." The mind, the Buddha, and living beings are three and yet are not different. They are one and the same. That is why I propagate the Buddhism of the entire Dharma Realm. I take the Dharma Realm as my school; I take the Dharma Realm as my substance; I take the Dharma Realm as my function, and as my name. And I embrace the teaching of the Dharma Realm. So, in name, substance, school, function, and teaching, it is all "the Dharma Realm."
Name: The Dharma Realm
Substance: The Substance of the Dharma Realm
School: The School of the Dharma Realm
Function: The Function of the Dharma Realm
Teaching: The Teaching of the Dharma Realm
The entire Dharma Realm is our scope. All living beings live within the Dharma Realm. No matter what religion you follow, you can't go beyond the Dharma Realm. Moreover, there is no way you can deny that you are a living being. All living beings are included within the Dharma Realm. Thus you are encompassed within Buddhism. Whether you are a good person or a bad person, you are included within Buddhism, and I consider you to be a Buddhist whether you consider yourself to be one or not.
You may say, "But I don't believe in Buddhism." Well, that's your business. You are like a person who ran away from home at an early age and now no longer recognizes his own father. Even face-to-face you no longer know your father. The scope of my Buddhism includes everyone— believers and non-believers alike. Are believers real Buddhists and non-believers not Buddhists? No. Whether you believe or not, I claim you as a Buddhist. The Buddha himself said, "All living beings have the Buddha nature and all can become Buddhas." You can't run away. There's no place to run to! So when my disciples want to draw near, they may do so; if they want to leave, they are free to leave. No matter where you go, I know you'll never run beyond the Dharma Realm. You can't escape the universe, you can't run beyond the Dharma Realm, and that is just my territory. My Buddhism has no limits. If you believe, fine. If you don't, that's even better. If you praise Buddhism, fine. If you slander it, it doesn't matter. I am vigorous whether the situation is favorable or unfavorable. Even if you slander Buddhism, I will still take you across to Buddhahood. For example, yesterday Guo Li said a mosquito was biting his ear and I told him to make a vow to cross it over to Buddhahood. When you have that kind of vow power, the mosquitoes won't bite you. Guo Tong said that a mosquito had bitten him and I told him to take it to jail. He said, "No, no, no..." Even though he was bitten, he wouldn't lock the bug up in jail. That's the heart of compassion.
Even though I said that I had signed a contract with the mosquitoes, some people have been bitten by them. Although a contract was signed, in all matters one should reflect upon oneself, illuminate inwardly. The first doctrine I spoke was the real one. What was that? I said that if you brought forth your true hearts to recite the Buddha's name, no mosquitoes would bite you and no contract would be necessary. If you do not recite sincerely, but drift off in idle daydreams instead, the mosquitoes know what to look for and they'll say, "You! You're supposed to be cultivating and reciting the Buddha's name but all you're doing is daydreaming. Okay, you can just offer me a bit of your blood. How do you like that?" They can tell just by looking, you know. If your heart is true, then,
Better would it be to change the course of a thousand rivers,
Than to disturb the mind of a cultivator of the Way.
The mosquitoes intuit, "That person is busy cultivating and reciting. No matter what, I'm not going to pester him." Although mosquitoes are small, they can tell by looking, and they also know how to distinguish odors. If you have the "Buddha Recitation fragrance," if your heart is true, they won't bite you. If your heart is not true, if you're like me, for example, and do nothing but daydream, they come to beg from you all the time. The mosquitoes come to ask for a handout, and although I'm very stingy, I have to oblige and give them a little blood. The same is true, of course, for all of you as well. You never, ever considered giving away a penny in order to help someone else, so the mosquitoes say, "This guy is a hard case. I have to transform him in a tough way instead of gently. He's very stingy with his blood and so I'm determined to taste it." They are encouraging you to bring forth the thought of Bodhi, because when they sting and drink a little blood you may wake up a little, "Ah, the Saha world is truly filled with suffering." Because the bite hurts for several days, you can know how bitter samsaric existence is, and think, "I must hurry up and recite the Buddha's name and seek rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss where there is no suffering, only happiness. There are none of the three evil paths, and no mosquitoes, ants, or other pests there either." And if you do bring forth the thought of enlightenment, then the mosquitoes become your Good Advisors. They truly help you cultivate. You've got to turn the illumination around and reflect inwardly. Ask yourself, "Have I recited in earnest?" That's the important point. Yesterday when I said that I had signed a contract, that was false. What I told you today is the truth.
Someone is thinking, "I came to this recitation session to hear instructional talks; why is he talking about mosquitoes?" Although the mosquitoes are small, they are a topic for a major essay. When we cultivate the Way, we should start from the small, not from the big. One proceeds from the small to the big, from the near to the far, from the lowly to the lofty. So if you can be clear about the things close at hand, you will understand what is going on at a distance.
If you don't want to hear what I have to say, simply forget it. If you can forget it, you're truly mindful of the Buddha. However, I feel sure that you won't forget it today.
Someone is thinking, "I can forget. When I fall asleep I'll forget about it." That's all too true.
To be continued