就是文殊、普賢、觀音、勢至都是眾生，何況我們呢？我們都是眾生之一，既然是眾生之一，那和佛根本都沒有分家。你是佛教徒，不是佛教徒，這是你自己這麼想，根本在佛教上沒有一個是不是。 不單信不信的都是佛教徒，就是罵佛、打佛、殺佛的都是佛教徒，沒有一個跑到佛法外邊去的。佛法是整個的，不是一個小方面的。你就是其它宗教，都是在佛教裡邊呢，沒有走到佛教外邊去。 這也是自己身體上的肉，哪個地方壞了，還是這個身體上的肉。所以在這個世界的眾生，信不信佛都是佛身上的，有佛性的，都是和佛是一個的。除非你說我沒有身體了，那沒有身體，什麼也沒有了。
All of you think it over: Your teacher is someone who gets scolded, not one who scolds others. When I was very young, I liked to scold people. Since growing up, however, I have seldom scolded others. I don't mind when others scold me. They can scold all they want. When people scold you, it is a test to see if you have enough samadhi. You shouldn't be overjoyed by a few words of praise or upset by a few words of criticism. That is to be blown about by the eight winds. When you cannot be blown by the eight winds, then you don't know what it means to be scolded. You treat the scolding as a song that people are singing for you. Since you don't scold others, when you hear a scolding it doesn't even register. You don't understand what the person is saying. You think the person is speaking Japanese, English, German, French, or some other language that you don't know. So, it's no problem. When someone scolds you, just pretend they are singing a song for you, praising you— except that the praise is from the reverse side.
Therefore, in cultivation, you must take what you cannot take and bear what you cannot bear. Skilled cultivators are those who can be patient and who can yield to others. Without these abilities, you cannot be said to have skill.
Some people say, "The world has gone bad." That is a mistaken view. The world itself cannot go bad. Others say, "Well, the world may not have gone bad, but people have gone bad." That's also wrong. People have not gone bad. What has gone bad then? The human mind. Since people's minds have gone bad, it has ruined the world and the people in it. When the mind is bad, it creates evil karma and consequently incurs an evil retribution. When evil retribution is incurred, there is no peace in the world. Thus, if you want people to be good and the world to be good, you must start with the mind. When the mind is good, there will be no more wars in the world.
At Gold Mountain Monastery, for example, there are two Bhikshus doing a "three steps, one bow" pilgrimage to Seattle, to one of the highest mountains there, a place where the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas congregate. Are they simply bowing to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas? No. They are praying for world peace. They are praying that the minds of people in the world will change from evil to good. In that way, the world of calamities, disasters, and miseries can change into a peaceful world filled with peace-loving people. In order for everyone to be a peace-loving person, we must start by ridding our minds of contention, hatred, greed, anger, and foolishness. Then the world will become peaceful.
Why is there no peace in the world right now? It's because people are too greedy. People in high positions are greedy on a large scale. Those in low positions are greedy on a small scale. Each person has his own greed. However many citizens there are in a nation, that's how many greedy people there are. When people's desires are not satisfied, they are greedy. They are greedy for fame and profit. Among ordinary people, businessmen are greedy to make more money and strike it rich. From the time they are born until they die, they live for money. If they don't have money, it's as if they don't have blood. This attitude pervades every nation. Farmers have the greed of farmers. They plant their seeds and then hope to reap a big harvest in the fall. That's the greed of farmers. Scholars are greedy to quickly complete their studies and get a high position in the government. Laborers are greedy to make more money, just like businessmen. Government officials already have a high position, fame and status, yet they too are greedy for money.
There is an ancient saying about greed:
All day long you are busy just to keep from starving. You work so hard, all because you are afraid of starving. After eating your fill, your thoughts turn to clothing. Once you have had a good meal, you want to dress up in pretty clothes.
When you have obtained abundant food and clothing, when you have all the clothing and food you need, you find that your home lacks a beautiful wife. You need to find a lovely wife or a handsome husband.
Having acquired an elegant wife and pretty mistress, once you have found both a lovely wife and a pretty mistress, you lack a sedan-chair and a horse for your transportation.You still lack a sedan chair to sit in or a horse to ride. Nowadays, we would want a car, a ship, or a plane.
Once you have a herd of mules and horses and a sedan- chair as well, you still get scorned because you don't have an official post. Once you have these vehicles, you still get mistreated because you aren't a government official.
Entering the fifth and fourth ranks, you are still a minor official. Even in the third and second ranks, you consider your rank too low. As an official of the fifth and fourth ranks, you are still a petty official. As an official of the third and second ranks, you still consider your rank too low.
As prime minister you are the top-ranking official in court. Yet your ambition is to ascend the throne and face the south. Finally, you become the Prime Minister, the highest ranked official. Yet you still aren't satisfied. Your ambition is to face the south— that is, ascend the throne as the emperor.
One day you do ascend the throne and preside over the royal court. Then you wish to play a game of chess with the immortals. One day your wish comes true and you become the emperor. Then you want to play chess with the immortals so as to gain immortality.
This goes to show how the human mind is never satisfied. It is like a snake trying to swallow an elephant. How could the snake do it? That's how people are. Due to their greed, they can never be content.
[Part of the lecture was not recorded.] You cannot "be" a Buddhist. A Buddhist is a Buddhist, period. You cannot "be" a Buddhist or not be one. Buddhism encompasses all living beings. No living being can run outside of Buddhism. Why not? All living beings have the Buddha nature and can become Buddhas. Whether or not they believe in the Buddha, they are all Buddhists. It's not the case that you are a Buddhist if and only if you believe in the Buddha. As long as you are a living being, you have the Buddha nature. Whether or not you believe in the Buddha, you have the Buddha nature. The only reason you might not have a Buddha nature would be that you were not a living being. But you wouldn't dare say that you are not a living being.
Even the Bodhisattvas Manjushri, Universal Worthy, Guanyin, and Great Strength are living beings, so how could we not be living beings? Since we are living beings, we are of the same family as the Buddha. You may say that you are or are not a Buddhist, but that is your own opinion. In Buddhism, this is not even an issue. Not only are believers and nonbelievers both considered Buddhists, even those who scold the Buddha, beat the Buddha, or kill the Buddha are Buddhists; none of them have gone beyond the boundaries of Buddhism. Buddhism encompasses the whole scheme of things, not just one small piece of the picture. Even if you belong to another religion, you are included in Buddhism; you have not gone beyond Buddhism.
No matter which part of you is ailing, it is still a part of your body. Therefore, whether or not the living beings in the world believe in the Buddha, they are like a piece of flesh on the Buddha's body; they all have the Buddha nature. They are one with the Buddha. Unless you say, "I don't have a body" Well, if there is not a body, there is nothing.
When one's nature is calm and demons are subdued, one ishappy every day.
When no discursive thoughts arise, one is at peace everywhere.
Cultivators of the Way have to cultivate samadhi. How does one cultivate samadhi? First of all, one must hold the precepts. The precepts stop evil and prevent wrongdoing.
Refrain from all evil and practice all good deeds.
Holding precepts requires that we constantly restrain and examine ourselves. We ask ourselves, "Have I created merit or offenses in the deeds I have done today? If I have created merit, then I ought to continue. If I have created offenses, I should quickly repent and reform." Those who hold precepts should avoid obstructing other people. They must be careful never to cause anyone to retreat in their cultivation. That amounts to obstructing others from making the resolve for Bodhi. If you obstruct others from making the Bodhi resolve, you will not achieve rapid success in your own cultivation. You cannot disturb any living being, how much less one who has made the Bodhi resolve. No matter who he is, if that person has made the Bodhi resolve, you ought to help him to succeed instead of ruining his resolve.
To be continued