當時瑜伽鎮尚未聽到「環保」的名稱，但上人已教導我第一個「R」--Reduce（減量）瑜伽鎮政府在一九七一年才開始 Recycle program（資源回收）
Venerable Master, All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, All Good Advisors: Amitabha Buddha!
"Recycling" is a hot topic of discussion in the world now. I would like to discuss what I know about recycling in the environment as well as the recycling of our inherent nature. In the world there are three R's— three methods to save the environment:
1. Reduce: Buy fewer things and cut down on garbage. Do not buy too many packaged goods. Use durable materials instead of paper cups, plates or other disposable items.
2. Reuse: Reuse items.
3. Recycle: Recycle materials that can be modified or made into other products.
I recall the time when I was a Shramanerika in charge of the kitchen. We are not supposed to simply throw away things in the temple. So without realizing it, I piled the room full of bottles and containers of various sizes. One day, the Venerable Master came by the kitchen with a Bhikshu. I was arranging these "treasures" at that time. The Venerable Master's sudden visit caught me by surprise. He asked me: "Why do you keep so much 'garbage'? You should throw away the things that need to be discarded." I was stunned. The Master said, "I'll teach you how to arrange things. Small bottles should go into bigger ones. That way, you won't waste any space." The Venerable Master demonstrated while explaining to me.
Although Ukiah began promoting recycling in 1971, it was the Venerable Master who taught me the first "R"- Reduce (to reduce in quantity).
Most of the teachings of the Venerable Master show us how to save our own resources. For example, having one meal a day (for the left-home people) can reduce the world's food consumption and cut down on electricity, manpower and the use of other resources. The two meals a day that we save can therefore be transferred to hungry and starving people. The Venerable Master reused envelopes; he would use one piece of tissue for a couple of days, and a tiny piece of chalk for writing on the blackboard. All these are covered in the 3R's— Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
The Venerable Master gave us innumerable teachings both verbally and by example, which we can apply to all situations. Thus, whenever we encounter adversities, difficult tasks, unfavorable situations, or a mixture of good and bad conditions, we can quickly distinguish and separate them, discarding those that need to be discarded. That way, we are not confused by states.
One day, the Venerable Master asked me a question, "You've left the home life for quite a long time. What do you do at the Sagely City? Which Sutra can you lecture?"
I said, "Your disciple is ashamed. I can't lecture any Sutra. Due to a heavy workload, I've neglected to investigate a Sutra."
The Venerable Master said, "What chores do you do here?"
"Your disciple likes to clean."
The Master said, "That is unacceptable! You only clean up the outside, but you are full of defilement inside. You have not cultivated at all. Why do you entertain so many idle thoughts?"
Thanks to the Venerable Master's instruction, I have come to understand that a person who truly knows how to recycle works from the inside out, and from the outside in, by understanding the principles and putting them into practice at the same time. By recycling our inherent nature, when the mind is pure, the world will be pure as well.
How can we protect and save the earth?
How can we keep people from losing their morals? Who should we begin with? Is it the world? The country? The government? The Buddhist organizations? The residents of the Sagely City? None of these. "Everybody is responsible for his own garbage. Everyone has a share in saving the world's people!" We should start with ourselves. Who will do it if we don't? We should practice and learn from Earth Store Bodhisattva how to save living beings and the world. There is a saying, "If one wishes the world to be good, we have to start with ourselves."
I am still ashamed of my response to the Venerable Master's question, "Which Sutra can you lecture?" My answer is still the same, "I only know how to talk about the Recycling Sutra." One who does recycling can progress from small to great, bad to good, defilement to purity, and falseness to truth. Recycling is also a vigorous way to practice precepts, samadhi and wisdom (the three non-outflow practices), eradicate greed, anger and delusion, cut off desires and sever emotional love. Every Sutra teaches us this. But I am still unable to achieve it. At this time, I am still working on recycling. Amazingly, each recycling experience corresponds to the Venerable Master's taped evening lecture. What the Venerable Master speaks is the true Sutra... the Dharma that can be found in our daily lives.
In the City of 10,000 Buddhas, morning and evening recitation, recitation of the
Avatamsaka Sutra and bowing to the Great Compassion Repentance are ways to help us purify our body and mind and to recollect our wisdom. Especially during the weekends, while praying for world peace, the main objective is to eradicate natural disasters and calamities such as illness, suffering, and catastrophes caused by new technologies. We can transfer the merit and virtue of our prayers and transform disasters into auspiciousness. By taking part in these Dharma assemblies, we help the whole world as well as ourselves. This is the biggest recycling project: to recycle the minds of the world's population and transform them from evil to goodness. Therefore, we must know how to recycle skillfully using the power of vows and transference. By recycling our inherent nature, we benefit and and liberate both ourselves and others.