I would like to talk a little about where
we should apply effort in studying Buddhism. Generally, the
foundation of our study should be based on three aspects:
treating others according to six ways of being harmonious1,
using the Six Paramitas2 in our interactions with the world;
and using the three studies of precepts, samadhi and wisdom
to guide our cultivation, so that we become enlightened
rather than confused, proper rather than deviant, and pure
instead of defiled.
We should also base ourselves on three
kinds of blessings:
a) being filial to parents, attending upon teachers and the
elderly, being kind and abstaining from killing, and
cultivating the ten good deeds3;
b) receiving the Three Refuges and the precepts, and
observing the regulations of awesome deportment; and
c) resolving to seek Bodhi, deeply believing in cause and
effect, reciting Mahayana Sutras and encouraging cultivators
Cultivators should hold the precepts
using the three karmic vehicles of body, mouth, and mind.
Our bodies should refrain from killing, stealing, and
engaging in sexual misconduct; our mouths should refrain
from lying, frivolous speech, divisive speech, and harsh
words; and our minds should refrain from greed, hatred and
delusion. We should aim to be role models for gods and
humans. If we wish to influence and inspire others with our
cultivation, first, we must improve our own physical
condition. The body and mind are non-dual; they are
interrelated. If the mind is pure, the body won't get sick.
Second, we must put effort in nurturing virtue. If people
misunderstand us, even if they are not being just, we should
not be upset or lose our tempers. Our minds should be as
still as water. As family members, we should fulfill our
roles as good wives, good husbands, good sons, good
daughters and so forth. In order to be a good person who is
well liked, we should refrain from criticizing others'
short-comings and learn their good points instead. We
shouldn't arrogantly regard ourselves as being the best.
Modesty is the best policy. It is said, "The taller the
bamboo grows, the lower it bends. The more the wheat
matures, the deeper it bows." A humble person encounters no
hindrances. Moreover we should really care for the people
around us, spreading warmth and confidence. We should treat
others with a good heart, good thoughts, good deeds, and
create good affinities so that whoever draws near feels as
though they were being bathed by a gentle springtime breeze.
Excellent inner virtue naturally manifests an aura that
communicates without words. It is said, "Virtuous people
will surely gain the affection of others; those who
cultivate the Way will be revered." Spirits and ghosts
respect a virtuous person; animals dare not harm him. When
we cherish lofty virtue, we will no longer even think of
pursuing small personal benefits. We won't harbor disordered
thoughts of desire. Our thoughts won't be scattered and our
mind will be peaceful and at ease. As the scopes of our
minds broaden, not only can we connect with the Master, but
we can also can be receptive to supporting messages from the
human beings and all beings in the universe. These good
messages become seeds stored in the Eighth Consciousness.
They help us, at the right time, turn potential calamities
into good fortune and danger into security. In that way we
will enjoy a better and more carefree life. I wish all of
you good health, safety, and happiness. May you cultivate
both blessings and wisdom and may everything go your way!
1. The harmony of precepts, for we cultivate them together.
The harmony of views, for we have the same understanding.
The harmony of bodies, for we dwell together.
The harmony of benefits, for we share them together.
The harmony of speech, for we do not contend.
The harmony of intent, for we delight in the same things.
2. Perfection of giving;
Perfection of patience;
Perfection of holding precepts;
Perfection of vigor;
Perfection of samadhi;
Perfection of wisdom
3. The body does not engage in killing,
stealing, or lust.
The mouth does not engage in harsh speech, lying, frivolous
speech, or divisive speech.
The mind does not engage in greed, hatred, or delusion.