If it were not for my world-transcending teachers and elders, I would know nothing of the hadharma. One who knows nothing of propriety or righteousness is the same as an animal. One who understands nothing of the Buddhadharma is no different from an ordinary person.
Now we know the rudiments of propriety and righteousness and have a rough understanding of the
If it were not for my world-transcending teachers and elders: If you want to cultivate, you definitely must find a Bright-Eyed Good Advisor. How can you make sure someone is a Good Advisor? You must observe the person. First, he must not be greedy for wealth. Second, he must not be greedy for sex. Third, he must not be greedy for fame. Fourth, he must not be selfish. When seeking a Good Advisor, use these four requisites as a checklist. Does he direct others to do things for his own advantage? Does he always plot to expand his own reputation and fame and to promote his status? A real Good Advisor is not greedy for fame or sex and is unselfish.
Dharma Master Dhammananda, who came with all of you from Malaysia this time, is a Good Advisor. Among all the Theravadan Bhikshus I have seen, he is the one with the best cultivation, the greatest wisdom, and the best understanding of propriety and right-eousness. So when you return to Malaysia, you should draw near to this Good Advisor.
I would like to advise you that when you draw near a Good Advisor, do not be too intimate and hang around him day and night, thinking that to draw near someone means to never be apart from him. To draw near a teacher means to listen to him. If you don't understand something, you can seek instruction from him. It is a mistake to think that you are close to the teacher just because you see him every day. When you request the Dharma, you should be very reverent, not talking and laughing all the while in a very casual way. You should be solemn and serious. Do not go there and bother him. You should ask whether he is free or not. You ask him for instructions only when he is free. When he is not free, you can't say, "I have something important I must ask. I've come here, and I don't care whether he is busy or not." That's not the right way to act.
You who have taken refuge with me should draw near to Dharma Master Dhammananda when you go back to Malaysia. I invite him to represent me to teach all of you because I am not in Malaysia. If you have the strength, you must protect his Dharma. By protecting him, you also protect me; there is no difference between us. Between the two of us, I've found that he is not selfish, whereas I am, but only a little.
To tell you the truth, I have maybe a hair's worth of selfishness, and I plan to cut it off.
If you want to transcend this world you need to have a Clear-eyed Good Advisor. A Clear-eyed Good Advisor absolutely never does anything to benefit himself. He would never think: "How can I benefit myself? I'll ask people to build me a big temple!" People might say, "Well, your temple at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is not a small one. Are you planning to build more temples?" Yes, I am, because my greed is insatiable. I would like to inform all of you that my greedy wish is to build a Way-place that will be an international Buddhist base camp for propagating the Proper Dharma.
Since all of you have come here, no matter what opinions you have, you are all protecting the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Even if you slander the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, you are protecting it. You are glorifying the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas by scolding it. If there is anyone who dares to speak in this way, I will bow to him as my master. Find me someone who dares to scold, slander, or criticize—I am not afraid. If I were afraid, I wouldn't have come all the way to America to propagate the Buddhadharma. I prepared myself long before I came to America to propagate the Buddhadharma. The more they slander me, the more fun I find it. That's why my thinking is completely different from yours. Today I would like to tell all of you that my style and behavior are different from what you have known.
If it were not for my world-transcending teachers and elders,
I would know nothing of the Buddhadharma. If you don't find a world-transcending good advisor you will not understand the Buddhadharma. Without understanding the Buddhadharma, how can you transcend the world? I would like to inform you that worldly views and wisdom can be ignored, but if you want to learn the Buddhadharma you have to take a loss. Great Master Yong Jia said: "Hear vicious words as merit and virtue." When people slander or scold you, it is your merit and virtue. They are helping you; they want you to be good, so they point out your shortcomings to help you change. You want to be more vigorous and take one step forward when you reach the top of the one hundred foot pole. "You should be vigorous in both favorable and adverse situations, not being moved by praise or slander." You should behave in this way but it is not easy. "Hear vicious words as merit and virtue; then vicious words become one's good advisors." These good advisors help us to succeed. "Do not let abuse and slander arouse enmity or liking." If when slandered you did not refrain from hatred and maintain your equanimity, "How could the power of patience with non-production be manifest?"
How could you demonstrate the strength of your patience with the nonproduction of dharmas? All of you should know that although I have a lot of shortcomings, I wish to change and correct all my faults so that together we can investigate the Buddhadharma.
What is mindfulness of our teachers' and elders' kindness? My parents bore me and raised me, but if it were not for my secular teachers and elders, I would know nothing of propriety or righteousness. If it were not for my world-transcending teachers and elders, I would know nothing of the Buddhadharma. One who knows nothing of propriety or righteousness is the same as an animal. One who understands nothing of the Buddhadharma is no different from an ordinary person.
Now we know the rudiments of propriety and righteousness and have a rough understanding of the Buddhadharma.
If you really want to transcend this world, you must find a true good advisor.
One who knows nothing of propriety or righteousess is the same as an animal. People who fail to understand propriety and righteousness are no different from animals. Most flying and crawling creatures don't understand propriety and righteousness, but some do, like the crow that returns to care for its parents, and the goat kid that kneels respectfully to drink its mother's milk. These animals are filial; they have inherent goodness in their nature. If you have the face of a human but the mind of an animal, you are definitely no different from animals, since you don't know propriety.
One who understands nothing of the Buddhadharma is no different than an ordinary person. If you cultivate but don't understand the Buddhadharma, then how are you different from an ordinary worldly person? You aren't.
Now we know the rudiments of propriety and righteousness: When Dharma Master Xing'an said "we," he meant all of us Buddhists, including both left-home people and lay people. To "know the rudiments" means to have a very basic and general idea. And we do have a rough understanding of a small part of the Buddhadharma. Due to the time, I will stop here today and continue tomorrow.
To be continued