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The Dharma Flower Sutra with Commentary


Roll Four, Chapter Fourteen: Happily-Dwelling Conduct

宣化上人講 Commentary by the Venerable Master Hua
國際譯經學院記錄 Translated by the International Translation Institute
修訂版 Revised version






Wisdom counteracts stupidity. If you have wisdom, you can turn stupidity into wisdom. If you are stupid, your wisdom turns into stupidity. Actually, the two are one—two sides of the same thing. Turning to one side is being wise; turning to the other is being stupid. One side is yin; the other side is yang. If you try to take advantage of situations, you are being stupid. If you do not, you are being wise. If you were born as if drunk and will die as if in a dream, and if you go about doing upside-down things all the time, you are being stupid. If you are absolutely pure and clean without any greed or defilement, then you are wise.

If you are pure for one moment,
in that moment you are on Magic Mountain;
If you are pure in every moment,
in every moment you are on Magic Mountain.

Magic Mountain is the Bodhimanda where Shakyamuni Buddha speaks the Dharma. But actually this just refers to purity of mind. That is why it's said, "If you are pure for one moment, then in that moment you are on Magic Mountain; If you are pure in every moment, then in every moment you are on Magic Mountain." You are always in the Dharma Assembly on Magic Mountain. Don't seek outside; it is right there with you. All you have to do is understand that and know how to use it, and you are that way. If you cannot use it, you cannot be that way. That's what cultivation is all about: diligently cultivating precepts, samadhi, and wisdom and putting to rest greed, hatred, and stupidity.

Bodhisattvas don't take pleasure in raising children, and they do not take pleasure in sharing the same master with them. Not only do they not take children as their own disciples, they do not say to them, "You should take refuge with my teacher. My teacher's status is more long-standing than mine; probably he can teach children. He's no doubt more talented at it." That is also not permissible. You should not work it so that you share the same teacher, for if you do, the child will always be calling you, "Big brother!" and you will have to take care of him. If you don't, it will be as if you aren't fulfilling your responsibilities as a Dharma brother. All day long he will call to you, "Big brother, I want some candy!" and you will have to buy him some candy. "Big brother, I want some cookies to eat!" and you will have to find some cookies for him to eat. Wouldn't you say that was a lot of trouble? That is why you shouldn't try to arrange it so that you both have the same teacher. The meaning of the text is that you should not take delight in sharing the same teacher with children. The meaning is not that you might not have the same teacher as children do. If your teacher likes children, you cannot object!

When I first began to lecture on the Sutras on Grant Avenue [in San Francisco's Chinatown], people came to listen, but how do you suppose they listened? They sprawled out on the ground to listen to the Sutra. Or they lay down with their feet propped up on a chair and their heads under the chair. They resembled snakes coiling around the chairs. Why did they get in those positions? They thought that was a way of practicing yoga. I never said anything to them about it, because at that time people here didn't know anything at all about the rules pertaining to Dharma Assemblies. That is why no one followed the rules.

Later, when the first group of college students came to listen to the Sutras, things became a little better. They had some understanding regarding the rules followed in Dharma Assemblies. Gradually the rules have been established here, and people follow them.

During the first summer session I was quite strict. I didn't allow people to miss even a minute of class or even take a five-minute break. There were people at that session who wanted to make trouble, but because I was so strict, they didn't manage to do it. That was the first time. The second time, things were a little better. In the beginning no one knew that it was appropriate to bow to left-home people. Then there was one student who began to bow to me every day. He had heard that someone had kneeled before me for four hours, and he said that he could do that, too. I said, "Fine," and later he started bowing to me every day. Actually, I don't like people to bow to me, but since I've come here, I've learned that Americans don't like to bow to anyone. And so even though I don't like people to bow to me, now I like to have you bow. It's a case of learning to like what you basically don't like. I don't like to receive bows, but I must learn to allow you to bow. You don't like to bow, but you must learn to like it. 

To be continued


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