Friday, August 22,1975 (evening)
[Bhikshuni Heng Chih records:
It's raining. The Venerable Master just
told Guo Tong to stop the rain.]
The reason for this is his rocket
didn't go off and he cried, and the dragons couldn't do
anything about it. You see? He doesn't have any talent
except crying. We're not going to listen to that anymore.
Bhikshuni Heng Yin:
Today's rain was brought to you by Guo
Tong, because he cried and cried so much that the heavens
started crying too.
This is a story about the Buddha in a life before he became
Shakyamuni Buddha. He was a Patient Immortal...
Are there any questions?
I would like to know if the coming of Maitreya Buddha and the
return of Christ is going to be the same event.
What's your name?
What do you think?
It makes sense that it would be, but I don't know.
Why do you think it makes sense?
I don't know a lot about the coming of Maitreya, but I think
they're both supposed to come to save humanity and they're
both supposed to come soon.
I have no comment on when Christ is due to come. As for Maitreya
Bodhisattva, it's still very early to look for his coming.
Those who say that Maitreya is due simply do not understand
the situation. Although Maitreya actually comes here all the
time, he hasn't yet become a Buddha. When we talk about the
coming of Maitreya, this refers to his return as a Buddha,
not just as an ordinary savior.
Every one hundred years our average
height decreases by one inch and our average lifespan by one
year. When the average human lifespan, which is now sixty or
seventy years, has decreased to ten years, it will begin to
increase again. When it reaches eighty-four thousand years,
then it will start to decrease. When it has decreased to
eighty thousand years, then Maitreya Buddha will appear in
the world. So if you calculate the time, it is still in the
distant future. Those who are coming now are Maitreya's
transformation bodies, not his true body, and they are not
coming to manifest the attainment of Buddhahood.
Do you who are Christians know that
Jesus disappeared for three
years, during which time no one knew his whereabouts? During those
three years, he went to India to study the Buddhadharma.
Having studied the Buddhadharma, he preached about rebirth
in the heavens and going to a heavenly paradise. This
concept is pretty similar to what the
Amitabha Sutra says. Jesus was also a part of Buddhism. He used
those methods to teach and transform a certain kind of
living beings, but ultimately, they will all go back to the
root and return to the source and everyone will become a
Buddha. But many people are unaware of this. (Added during
translation: Jesus was a part of Buddhism. He was a
Buddhist. However, he did not want to admit that he was
Buddhist, so he did not preach Buddhism.)
A few days ago I said that all the
world's religions are included within Buddhism. This is
because Buddhism takes
the Dharma Realm, the universe, as its substance, and no living being can
escape it. Other religions do not teach this. There are Ten
Dharma Realms: The Dharma Realms of the Buddhas, the
Bodhisattvas, the Condition-Enlightened Ones, the Hearers,
the gods, humans,
asuras, animals, ghosts, and the beings in hell. No
religion surpasses these Ten Dharma Realms and so all are
included within Buddhism; none are not Buddhism. Although
they might not admit to being a part of Buddhism, it's only
just a matter of time. In the future they will certainly
acknowledge it. There will be no way they can avoid
acknowledging it, since they can't run outside of the Dharma
Realm. Buddhism takes the Dharma Realm as its substance. I
hope that you will all use effort and look into this
Many people do not acknowledge that
they are Buddhists, but this is no problem. Why don't they
acknowledge that they are Buddhists? Because they have not
understood that they are within the Dharma Realm. They are
like dreamers who are not in control of their actions. They
are out of touch with what is really going on. They are also
like the insane. Sometimes insane people don't even know
that they are human beings. When you ask them what they are,
they may answer, "nothing at all," or they may think that
they are some strange creature of their own demented
fantasy. When a person has lost touch with his humanity, you
can't rely on his own word when he tries to identify
himself. In the same way, you can't accept as reasonable the
statement that one is not within the Ten Dharma Realms when
it is made by someone who does not know the truth.
relates the story of Yajnadatta, who one day looked in the
mirror and noticed that the person reflected in it had a
head. At that point, he lost his wits and said, "How come
that person has a head and I don't? Where has my head gone?"
He then ran wildly through the streets asking everyone he
met, "Have you seen my head? Where has it gone?" He accosted
everyone he met, yet no one knew what he was doing. "He
already has a head," they said. "What's he looking for
another one for?"
There are a lot of people just like
Are there any more questions?
Are there people who have written about
Buddhism, other than yourselves, who are worth reading? Most
writers come from a Western orientation and this tends to
lead them to alter the doctrines.
There are other translations, but it is
not a question of relative worth. Many previous translators
of Buddhist texts were priests, ministers, scholars, or
professional writers. Although they did translate Sutras,
they didn't necessarily understand the Buddhadharma.
However, their translations cannot be said to be of no
worth—they sell; people buy them. Thus they are worth
something. But their principles do differ from the orthodox
tradition. The translations done at Gold Mountain Monastery
are done by Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Shramaneras, Shramanerikas,
laymen and laywomen, professors, and scholars of the
Buddhadharma who all work together. They translate Sutras
from within the Buddhadharma. Previous translations were
largely done by people standing outside of Buddhism. Even if
these Sutras were translated by Buddhists, they represent
only one person's opinion. They were not subjected to the
scrutiny of others, not examined by many people, and
inaccuracies passed unchecked into print. It is not, then, a
question of worth; it's a question of validity.
Previous translations do exist, but the
difference is here: The translators have an external
viewpoint—they do not stand inside the study and practice of
the Dharma. "Outsiders" don't have a genuine, reliable
understanding. That's where the problem lies.
The translations done at Gold Mountain
Monastery are checked and criticized by many people. We do
not claim that our translations are perfect, but we do
strive for perfection. We don't want to imitate the earlier
translations (done by clergymen or scholars) which became
vehicles used to talk about the doctrines of Christianity.
We don't substitute Christian terminology for Buddhist
technical terms, so that nothing substantially Buddhist
remains in them.
We have been investigating the
Buddhadharma for many years, yet there are many things we do
not understand. How much the less can those who have never
looked into Buddhism be expected to render the original
meaning of the Buddhist Sutras?
We at Gold Mountain Monastery would not
dare to say that our translations alone have worth. We
would simply not say that. But we are trying to do a good
job; we are striving for perfection.
To be continued