Friday, August 22,1975 (evening)
I now have a few more words for those of you who took
refuge this afternoon. After this, anywhere you go, if
people ask you who your teacher is and you want to admit
that I am your teacher, you can tell him, "The stupidest
person in the world is my teacher. His name is such and
such. There isn't anyone dumber or more ignorant than he
is." That's how you should answer. Don't say something like,
"My teacher is really intelligent and he has all these good
qualities." Your teacher has no praiseworthy qualities.
Don't go around promoting your teacher and talking about
how great he is. He doesn't have any good qualities at all,
Whenever you go to a Buddhist temple you should be humble.
Do not be arrogant. You should feel that everyone else is
better than you, and that you have much to learn from them.
For example, when you bow to the Buddha, don't stand in the
center aisle, because that is the space reserved for the
Abbot. Bow off to one side. Don't cause those who see you
to think, "Oh, your teacher is really stupid. He hasn't
taught you anything. You don't even know how to bow to the
Buddha." Then no matter how good you say your teacher is,
no one will believe you. On the other hand, if you do
everything well and according to the rules, then you won't
even have to say anything about your teacher being a good
teacher. People will just take one look at you and think,
"He's so well-behaved and well-mannered; probably his
teacher doesn't have any major flaws." Do you believe this?
No? Okay, that's all for today.
Saturday, August 23, 1975 (afternoon)
Disciple: When Guanyin Bodhisattva succeeds Amitabha Buddha
in the Land of Ultimate Bliss, where will Amitabha Buddha
Venerable Master: He's going to go right into your heart.
Who else has a question?
Disciple: When you are born in the Land of Ultimate Bliss,
do you stay there until you are a Buddha or get
enlightened, or do you stay only briefly and then leave?
You become a Buddha right there. Those born in the superior
grade of the superior lotuses become Buddhas as soon as
they appear. Those born in the lower grade of the lower
lotuses must wait ninety great eons to become Buddhas.
Several days ago Guo Tong asked a question about why there
were two Buddhas with the same name in the Amitabha Sutra.
There are unreckonably many Buddhas with identical names.
In the Land of Ultimate Bliss alone, there are three hundred
and sixty billion, one hundred nineteen thousand, five
hundred Buddhas all called the "Guiding Master, Amitabha
Buddha." The answer that Guo Hang gave to his question was
correct. There are that many Amitabha Buddhas, all of whom
guide living beings.
Yesterday, I said that Amitabha Buddha was like a magnet
and that all living beings are like iron filings. When iron
filings meet a magnet, they are irresistibly drawn to it. I
also said that the other Buddhas were like magnets, but
their magnetism was not as strong as Amitabha's. Several
people couldn't sleep last night because they were having
this false thought: "If all the Buddhas are like magnets,
how come some of them have a stronger magnetic field than
others? How can their powers be different?" Today, when I
asked if there were any questions, no one dared bring the
matter up, but I will answer it anyway.
It is because Amitabha Buddha has made forty-eight vows,
and these vows are like the power of a magnet. Other
Buddhas have also realized Buddhahood, but they have not
made these forty-eight vows and so their power is not as
great. Thus, in cultivating the Way, one must make vows. If
you have vows, they are certain to come true. Vows are like
a lamp that illumines the road ahead. When you are walking,
if you have a lamp to light the path, it is very easy to
travel. Each one of us should make vows in our cultivation.
At Gold Mountain Monastery, every year on the eighth day of
the twelfth lunar month, the anniversary of the
enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha, those who wish to do so
may make vows. That day is called "vow day." Although the
word vow (願 yuan) in Chinese sounds the same as the word
for resentment (怨 yuan), it is not a day of resentment.
Some people resent heaven and blame their fellow human
beings, saying, "Heaven! You really don't know how to do
your job. You are so unjust! And every soul on this Earth
is wrong!" People like that think everybody else is in the
wrong. That's the day to make vows. You can make a vow
about something you want to accomplish or about how you
want to cultivate. Can one make vows at other times as
well? Yes. However, that particular day is the anniversary
of Shakyamuni Buddha's enlightenment and so, when we make
vows on that day, he is very pleased. "Oh! In the Saha
world another living being has made vows because of my
enlightenment! These are supreme conditions!"
And so he says, "Good indeed! Good indeed! Good man,
goodwoman, you have made these vows and I shall certainly
help you to fulfill them."
To be continued