I drove my little golfcart out to the gate to meet them. They knitted their brows together and craned their necks to look....I don’t know what they wanted. I told them (through a translator I had brought with me), “Friends, I very much welcome you protesting here. However, the sun is blazing hot. I feel terrible that you have no shade. I’m the reason that you have to suffer the heat and wind. I invite you to come inside the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to protest. There are plenty of trees there for shade. You may raise your signs as high as you wish beneath the trees. If you want, you can even hang them on the trees. If you’re hungry, come inside and eat. There’s tea if you’re thirsty; there’re beds if you’re tired. Feel free to come in and protest. You are very welcome. Even if you held up a sign calling me a devil, I would admit that I am a devil. If you want to beat me, I welcome your punishment. Even if you were to kill me with a knife or gun, I would not frown. I would happily accept it.” Furthermore, I told them, “Why do I welcome you? I have Jesus’ spirit of loving his enemy. I have Jesus’ spirit of sacrificing myself to satisfy others. I have Jesus’ spirit of loving everyone. Therefore, no matter how unreasonable you are, I will treat you as kindly as I would my closest relative.”
After I finished saying these words, they looked at one another, put down their signs, and went home to put on clean clothes to join the City of Ten Thousand Buddha’s United Religions Conference. Their attitude changed from one that is challenging to one that is friendly. There was a Catholic father named Rogers who told everyone, “People of this type also protest at Catholic gatherings. However, we could not think of a way to stop them. We could only call the police to take them away or disperse them. However, they would regroup, and start their protest again. It has been quite a headache for us. The way you handled the situation today is something that we could have never imagined.”
Does anyone have any questions? We can use the short amount of time remaining to offer the most supreme and sublime
prajna wisdom of wonder. Better not wait, for the opportunity might slip by!
Q: At the evening talk on the 29th, the Venerable Master said that one could accomplish great things by reciting the Great Compassion Mantra 108 times a day for three years. Since my job keeps me busy, is it okay to recite 54 times in the morning and 54 times in the evening? Will that work?
A: Everything is okay. It’s no problem with me. You may do what you like.
Q: The second question: Cockroaches and mosquitoes are harmful insects that multiply profusely. Should we kill them? Is there any offense in doing so?
A: I am not a cockroach, I am a little mosquito. I don’t know what to do about this. If you want to eliminate little insects, you should first eliminate me because I am a little mosquito. I wrote a description of how I was a little mosquitoa few days ago . I said,
No one knows that I am a little mosquito.
I buzz about nonstop, day and night.
Eager for bargains, I suck blood.
Upon meeting smoke I flee, forgetting which way is left or right.
These lines say that no one knows that I was a little mosquito in the past. Never resting, I had buzzed about day or night, flying east and west. I sucked blood from anyone that I encountered. I ate my fill of others’ blood, taking advantage of others. If people lit a fire, I would escape, getting disoriented and forgetting about time.
Q: The third question: Recently a family member of mine passed away. How can our family transfer merit and virtue to him so he can be reborn in a good destiny and avoid falling into the three evil destinies? What’s the best method?
A: Recently I saw a Thai lieutenant who had died two or three times. At the end of his life, he knew when he was going to die, so he told people about his experiences in the heavens and hells. According to him, he said that the merit and virtue of making offerings to the Triple Jewel are infinite and can save close relatives and family members. Generally speaking, if we wish to save our relatives and family members, we must first “do no evil and do everything good.” That’s the only way to save others.
Q: The fourth question: A faithful layperson works on a pig and chicken farm. It’s difficult for him to immediately change his occupation. How can one emulate the spirit of Earth Store Bodhisattva and turn the animal farm into a Bodhimanda in order to save these pitiable animals?
A: This is a catch-22. I’ve never raised chickens so I don’t know what to do. The best method would be for you to not raise chickens, but raise people.
Q: The fifth question: The “Universal Door Chapter” says, “If you recite the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, weapons to be used against you will break apart and self-destruct, despite the fact that you have committed a crime.” Is this contrary to worldly dharma?
A: The Buddhadharma is not apart from worldly dharma. And yet the Buddhadharma is different from worldly dharma too.
Q: The sixth question: Dharma Master, please explain the relationship between “object” and “subject” in the
A: It’s the difference between the wisdom that produces and the wisdom that is produced.
Q: Venerable Master, please kindly advise a layperson who is single on how to sleep sitting up and what to pay attention to.
A: Laypeople shouldn’t favor what’s novel and different. There’s no need to practice sleep sitting up either. Just don’t be naughty.
Q: Please explain the difference among: false mind, true mind, false thoughts, no thought, and proper thoughts. Once a certain Dharma Master signed his name Forgetting Karma. Is it correct that when we practice Chan, we should remember to forget thoughts? Please kindly explain.
A: I don’t know how to investigate Chan. I don’t know intellectual Zen. I don’t have so many discriminating thoughts either. I refuse to answer these questions. Please find some other expert to answer you.
Q: Will the Venerable Master kindly explain how a layperson can cultivate and uphold the practice of 42 Hands and Eyes?
A: Do not contend; do not be greedy; do not seek; do not be selfish; do not pursue personal advantage; and do not lie!
Q: Venerable Master, is there a specific time during the day for upholding the Shurangama Mantra? Is it only to be recited before 5 a.m.? Is it not okay to recite it after that time?
A: Any time that you recite it is five o’clock.
Emcee: Out of compassion, the Venerable Master Hua will now allow lay people to bow and make offerings to him. Everyone, please line up three in a row. [The assembly lines up to pay respect to the Ven. Master.]
Venerable Master: I will tell you something else: lots of people wish to prostrate when they see me. Even if they can’t see me, they will kneel at the door. What is the reason for this? It’s not that this person is bowing to me. Every day starting at the age of twelve, I have been bowing to all beings, including mosquitoes and ants. Those who bow to me are merely repaying their debts. People see you bowing to me now, but no one knows that I used to bow to you.
To be continued