Thursday, August 21, 1975 afternoon Ullambana (continued)
The Master: Does anyone else want to say something?
Student: Last night I dreamt that I was with my mother, my sister, and three of my cousins and we were all respectfully walking around the Buddha.
Another student: I had some significant visions while I was sitting. I saw a golden sphere with a keyhole in it. A golden key was inserted in it and it began to turn. As it turned, the light intensified. Another vision was that of a formation of jewels. It had a definite pattern and was set in something that looked like highly polished lapis lazuli. The colors were intense reds and golds.
The Master: Who else had an experience? Speak up.
A student: In the world at present there are a great number of people who do not have enough food to eat, who are not properly dressed or housed, while a small minority of people have much more than they can use. I experience a lot of frustration because my actions seem very insignificant and the problems are great. Just what can we do to change these things?
The Master: Worrying about them is of no use. Exhaust your efforts and do what you can and don't ask too much of yourself. An individual has only a limited amount of influence. There are too many people in the world. You must first rescue yourself.
Guo Tong: [Sound unclear.]
A woman: A couple of months ago, I asked a friend to wake me up in the morning... [Sound unclear]
The Master: Who else had an experience? If you had a special feeling or experience that you feel good about, you can bring it up.
Bhikshuni Heng Hsien: Sometimes I see light that pervades universally, but occasionally I see light that's kind of different, like sudden flashes, like a little point of light in space. I saw a couple of these a couple of days ago while I was writing notes; it wasn't during meditation. I've seen them at Gold Mountain too, and it occurred to me what Sutras describe as mani jewels, but I don't know. They were silver-colored.
The Master: When we are reciting the Buddha's name and we stop and take our seats, that can be considered investigating dhyana. But you can also continue to recite the Buddha's name silently. It is then very easy to experience a state of "peace." What is "peace"? It is the beginning sign of entry into samadhi. You may feel as if your body and empty space have united into one. There will be no mark of people, no mark of self, no mark of living beings, and no mark of a life span. You are certainly not asleep, but everything has come to a stop. This is the state of "peace." Whoever can stop his idle thoughts can realize genuine wisdom.
This layman just said that many people in the world lack food, clothing, and shelter. Many people have no food to eat, no clothing to wear, and no house to live in. Why is this? It's because those who do good are few and those who do evil are many. People who commit many evil acts and do not practice good deeds must undergo this kind of retribution.
This kind of retribution is not easy to avert, since those who do evil are so numerous and those who do good are so few. If you want to make the world a good place, you must first begin with yourself. If you want to alleviate the sufferings of everyone in the world, you must also begin with yourself. How? Do no evil yourself, instead, practice all kinds of good deeds. In this way you can avert the disasters due to afflict us and help the world out a bit. Do as many good deeds as you have the power to do. Do your best to fulfill your responsibilities, but don't worry too much.
If you do nothing all day except sit and think, "People are suffering too much. What can I do?" it is useless. You yourself must do good deeds and make it so that there are more good people in the world every day and fewer bad people. Then the world will be well, and everyone will have clothing, food, and shelter. It is not a matter of saying, "Democracies are no good. We should become communists and share the wealth." In communist countries, it's not necessarily the case that everyone has food, clothing, and shelter. In fact, sometimes there is misery on top of misery. Therefore, if you wish the world to be good, you must refrain from all evil and practice all good, and then the world will naturally become good. It is said,
Plant a good seed, reap a good fruit;
Plant an evil seed, reap an evil fruit.
If you plant ginseng, in the future you will harvest ginseng. If you plant
he shou wu, in the future you will harvest he shou wu. You get what you plant. Karma works in the same way fields are planted and harvested.
To be continued