All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and all Good
Knowing Advisors: Amitabha!
It has not been long since I came from
Hong Kong, and I have just finished the Guanyin Dharma
Assembly and the Chan Meditation Session along with you.
Today I happened to be picked to give a Dharma talk. Since I
have not been a monk long enough to share with you any
profound insights, I can instead tell you how the Venerable
Master instructed me when I first became a novice monk (Shramanera).
I left the home life in Hong Kong, on
Feburary 19,1986, which was Guanshiyin Bodhisattva's
birthday. Although my head was shaved and I was called a
Shramanera (novice), I did not actually received the
Shramanera Precepts. One day during lunch, the Venerable
Master told me, "You are a Shramanera, so you must respect
the Bhikshus. Why? Because if you respect the Bhikshus now,
in the future when you become a Bhikhsu, people will respect
you too." After I heard these words from the Venerable
Master, I remembered them in my heart, but they did not
impress me in any particular way. Yet over time, I started
to notice that I have a lot of bad habits and faults, such
as arrogance. I would have to use the Venerable Master's
teachings to remind myself, to help me contemplate how I am
still controlled by my bad habits and faults. This helps to
prevent me from being rash in handling things or dealing
There is a saying: "The effect
corresponds to the cause." The Sutras contain an account of
a Bhikshu called "Sea Board," who was sailing across an
ocean with a group of Sanghans. While at sea, the boat was
wrecked and sunk in a storm. Bhikshu Sea Board managed to
cling to a piece of wood and keep himself afloat. Suddenly
he caught sight of an elderly Bhikshu who was drowning. He
immediately pushed his piece of wood toward this elder, and
subsequently drowned himself. After dying, he was reborn
into the heavens. As a god, he descended to where the Buddha
was speaking the Dharma and listened to his teaching. Before
long, he was able to open his Dharma Eye.
According to the Sutras, if one wishes to
attain the first Dhyana, one must create merit and virtue by
working to help monasteries flourish. If one wishes to
attain the second Dhyana, one must create merit and virtue
by helping to build monasteries. Likewise, if one wishes to
progress on one's path of cultivation, one needs various
supporting conditions, and one should be reverent towards
all. It is also similar to when we bow the Great Compassion
Repentance. This ceremony is the beginning of all blessings.
We bow the Great Compassion Repentance
every day- this tells us we ought to be reverent. We recite
"Universal Worthy's Conduct and Vows Chapter" every morning.
The first vow is to worship and revere all Buddhas. What
does this vow mean for the Sangha? We are all disciples of
the Buddha and we all should worship and revere all Buddhas.
We should also realize that all living beings have the
inherent Buddha nature and can become Buddhas. In the future
all will become Buddhas. Thus, when we "worship and revere,"
we ought to include them too. If we have made the resolve to
help all living beings, yet continue to act in ways that
harm living beings, how can we say that we are being
reverent towards all living beings? Being reverent towards
all is the sine qua non for all cultivators. In everything
we do, we should always be reverent.
I will speak this much tonight. I believe
that everybody is more familiar with being reverent than I