Now we have all the necessary conditions: we have this human body and live in the central country. Our six sense faculties-eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind—are intact and free of problems, and the four elements-earth, water, fire, and wind-are in harmony. None of them are imbalanced. Our faith is complete and we are fortunate to be free of demonic obstacles. We have faith, and there aren't any demonic obstacles impeding us. Moreover, we have all been able to leave the home life and also receive the complete precepts. We have found a great place for spiritual practice at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and heard the Buddhadharma. There are people to lecture the Sutras and speak the Dharma for us. We have seen sharira and cultivated the dharma of repentance. We have the sharira of the Buddha at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, and we bow the Great Compassion Repentance and other repentances. We have also met numerous good friends, and encountered especially superior conditions. If today we fail to make a great resolve, what are we waiting for? How long are we going to wait before we make a great resolve for Bodhi?
Great Master Xing An says: I only hope that the great assembly will sympathize with my simple honesty and pity my painfully earnest wish: Let us together establish these vows and together make this resolve. We should all resolve to make the forty-eight great vows. Those who haven't made it should do so now. Those who have already made it should increase it, so that the forty-eight vows grow day by day; and continue to advance. If one's vows are already growing day by day, one must continuously renew them.
Do not fear or retreat from difficulty. Do not let hardship daunt you. Do not regard this resolve lightly or flippantly. Do not think it is an easy matter. Do not be impatient and fail to persevere. Do not be in a rush and give up too soon. You must be persistent and keep at it. Don't think you can become a Buddha on a stroke of luck. There's no clever shortcut to Buddhahood.
This reminds me of how I taught all of you the Forty-two Hands and Eyes before. Some of you practiced them for a few years, then stopped because you didn't see any results. Your stopping is a case of retreating and not persevering. Do not be lax and lacking in vigor. You shouldn't be lazy to the point that you don't have an ounce of vigor. Do not be discouraged and fail to raise your spirits. Don't drag your heels and be down in the dumps, unwilling to quit your bad habits and apply yourself. You should rouse your spirits and go to it. Do not be sloppy and procrastinate. Don't be casual and negligent and fail to do a complete job. Don't wait around, saying, "I'm not going to cultivate right now. I'll wait a while, wait until everything is all settled before I start to practice." Practice cannot wait.
Do not allow dullness and stupidity to prevent you from making a resolve. You should not be so foolish and ignorant that you fail to resolve your mind on Bodhi. Do not indulge in self-pity, thinking your roots are shallow and you do not have a share. Don't think, "Oh, my roots are too shallow and the path to Buddhahood is too long and far. I have no chance to become a Buddha." Get rid of such thoughts.
There's an analogy It's like planting trees: after long growing, the once-shallow roots deepen each day. A newly planted tree has shallow roots. But day by day, over the course of time, those roots grow deeper and deeper into the earth. It's also like sharpening a knife: after long whetting the once-dull blade quickens. If you whet it for a long time, the dull blade becomes sharp. Just because a tree's roots are shallow, how could you not plant it and let it wither? You cannot refuse to plant a tree merely because its roots will start out shallow. If you don't plant it, it will die. And just because a knife is dull, there is no reason to consider it useless and not sharpen it. You should not set aside a dull knife, refusing to sharpen and use it.
To be continued