Our lives resemble confused dreams. I head south today and will head north tomorrow. I will head west one day and head east the day after that. I walked every which way without knowing the reason. The happiness from my successful career is empty. The disappointment from my failed career is empty too. Therefore, “Wealth and status are early morning dreams in the spring. Merit and fame are but a wisp of cloud.” Merit and fame are just as clouds that float by; they're not real. “My current blood relatives are not real.” We are family to every human being throughout infinite eons. We're each other's father and son; we're each other's mother and daughter; we're each other's brother and sister. This is a matter of cause and effect, causes and conditions. Also included are affinities, kindness, and resentment. Some families are harmonious while others are inharmonious. “Blood relatives before me are not real.” So don't think that your father or son, your close relatives are any big deal. “Kindness and love turn into enmity and resentment.” Look at how marriages turn into divorces after two and a half days nowadays, not even three days. People marry again two hours after the divorce.
In ancient times, Zhuang Zhou once had seen a woman on the road fanning a new grave. Zhuang Zhou had asked her, “Why are you fanning the tomb? Is the tomb afraid of the heat?” She said, “You don't know. My husband and I had been very loving, I can't immediately remarry after his passing. I must wait until his tomb dries before I remarry. I will disappoint him otherwise.” There are women like these in ancient times. Not everyone is that way, but Zhuang Zhou had met someone strange like that. When he went home, he told his wife, “I saw something novel today.” His wife asked, “What?” He described the woman who couldn't wait to fan her husband's tomb dry after he passed away so that she could remarry. Isn't that newsworthy? Zhuang Zhou's wife said, “Only awful women are that way! If you were to die, I would never remarry.” Zhuang Zhou said, “Really? Okay, then let me die soon.” He became sick and died soon after that. After he passed away, his wife placed him in a coffin and arranged for funeral services at home.
Just then, Chu the Aristocrat came. Chu the Aristocrat was outstanding in looks and talent, so when Zhuang Zhou's wife saw Chu, she couldn't help but want to seduce Chu, hoping that Chu would marry her. Chu the Aristocrat said, “I came here out of admiration for the elder Zhuang Zhou. I had wanted to learn and study with him. Now that he's dead, I will read his books. I will not marry you because his coffin is still here. I can't accept your good will when I can still see my teacher. Though I had never learned from him, his books remind me of him.” Mrs. Zhuang said, “Oh, this coffin? No problem, I can split the coffin open, light a fire and burn it. She takes an ax and chops away at Zhuang Zhou's coffin. When the coffin was split open, Zhuang came to life. Mrs. Zhuang looked around and saw that Aristocrat Chu also disappeared. Everything disappeared except for Zhuang Zhou. Zhuang Zhou said, “You said that the woman who fanned that grave was awful. I haven't even been buried now and you were ready to chop apart my coffin. You're in even more of a hurry to remarry than the woman who fanned the tomb.” His wife was quite embarrassed.
Zhuang Zhou then went away to cultivate. Therefore, “My current blood relatives are not real, kindness and love turn into enmity and resentment. Do not place the golden shackle around your neck; quit tangling yourself with the jade chain.” Don't wear jewelry over your entire body, saying, “This is great, this is great, this is great.” “By clearing the mind, lessening desires, and escaping mundane defilement, the happy scene is but a basic part of you.” Why don't you play with this and chew on it? It's quite logical. If anyone disagrees, I have some questions for you and, sorry, I will not answer them.
Do we need to translate this into Taiwanese? There's probably some time still. Let me say a bit more. You clapped a bit too early this time. Let me say something rude and not particularly reasonable; nonetheless, I insist on saying it. What is it? I want to say that that I have been in the United States for more than two decades, probably twenty-seven or twenty-eight years. During this time, people had wanted to introduce me to Jimmy Carter. Richard Nixon had sent federal agents to investigate me. I told the federal agents that Nixon is more stupid than a pig. Once, a man and a woman came. They both knew Chinese. I was lecturing on the Avatamsaka Sutra then, so I talked about how, “There's nothing that doesn't flow from this Dharma Realm and there's nothing that doesn't return to this Dharma Realm.” They were down below, secretly taking photos of me and recording me. When I came down, the man said, “Oh, Dharma Master, your talk was excellent! There's nothing that doesn't flow from this Dharma Realm and there's nothing that doesn't return to this Dharma Realm.” Upon hearing this, I asked him, “What is the Dharma Realm? I don't even know how to explain these words despite having lectured on Sutras for so long. Please, why don't you explain it for me.” He just stared at me because he had heard me say these two lines and memorized them, pretending to understand and trying to hide his identity. This is one.
Once I was lecturing on the Sutras at noon. Another American woman who knew Chinese came with a paper bag. The bag was filled with vegetables. She also listened to the Sutras and was also secretly tape-recording me. The recorder was underneath the vegetables so that no one could see it. No one there knew. When I came down and walked to the door, she also came over to talk to me, saying, “Dharma Master, your Sutra lecture was excellent.” I said, “Really?” I said, “Your president of America, Nixon, is stupid beyond belief. He's worse than a pig!” She said, “How is our president so stupid?” I said, “He wastes ordinary citizens' hard-earned money, sending a special agent here to secretly record and photograph me at my Buddha Hall. Wouldn't you say he's a pig? Both the front door and the back door to my Buddha Hall are wide open, what secrets are there?” Hearing me say this, she said, “Dharma Master, don't accuse me by mistake. I'm no special agent. I am recording you because I want to hear you sing. If you forbid it, then I'll return it to you.” I said, “I welcome your recording. You can go back and play your recording for Nixon so that he could also plant some roots of goodness!” After I had finished speaking. People in the Buddha Hall looked at each other, “What? Who told him?” That special agent also seemed terribly shocked and didn't know how I knew.
This took place in the United States. Later on, many people had hoped that I would become an American citizen, that way it would be easier to go places without a visa. There are lots of conveniences for doing that. However, I said, “I am Chinese. If my country were more powerful than any other country and doesn't need a weak little citizen like myself, then I would change my nationality. However, my country is currently undergoing a difficult transition. Although I can't imitate others who add more flowers to the existing garland, I am willing to offer gifts of coal in the snow. I will not change my citizenship until my country has superceded other countries.” Consequently, I uttered the following:
Chaos has reigned in China for several decades.
In my melancholy, tears spring forth freely.
Unfortunately, I shamefully regret,
I can't change the course of fate in this life.
And to our lament, the sun of the past was not brought down.
Paths in the world are full of twists and turns,
While people and ghosts con each other.
Bobbing up and down in the political scene, they grill each other too.
Though I am a monk, I have not forgotten my loyalty.
I refuse to change my nationality and conceal my origin.
China has reigned in China for several decades. I don't care if there are any Japanese people in Taiwan. I am not afraid of the Japanese because I have never been afraid of ghosts. China has been chaotic in the last several decades. After the Japanese surrendered, the Communists and the Nationalists then fought and criticized each other. You yell at me for being a criminal, I scream at you for being a criminal too. China ended up with no leader except criminals. Isn't that sad? That's why China has been in turmoil for decades.
Anguished by the affairs of the times,my tears flow like a river. I am sad about the strange state of affairs in the world. Blood relatives murder one another. How painful. In my melancholy, my tears well forth, forming a spring.
I regret that in this life,I haven't been able to turn the tide of events. I say that I don't have the ability to turn back the hands of time. I can't solve the China question so that people can live in peace and happiness. I can't make China store away its weapons and let the horses roam free. I don't have the ability to change fate in this lifetime.
In the past,I failed to play the lute of the setting sun.Although I had wanted to cultivate the Way at age twelve, I had also thought about saving my country and fellow citizens when I saw the cruelty that the Japanese inflicted on the Chinese during the Japanese occupation. I didn't do it though. We were not able to knock off the sun and shoot it down with one finger.
The roade of the world twist and turn,as people and ghosts deceive each other. The paths in this world are crooked and difficult to traverse. Humans and ghosts con each other during their life's journey.
The sea of politicians surges and rolls as they fight each other.Political officials will rise and sink suddenly in the sea of politics. Each grills and oppresses the other.
Though I've left the home-life,I haven't forgotten my heart's allegiance. I am a monk. I do not want to see my country being bathed in blood and see lives being destroyed. Regardless of the state that my country is in, I must maintain a sense of loyalty to and love for my country and citizens.
Not changing my nationality,Itrace my roots back to their source. Since I am Chinese, I do not wish to pretend to be any other nationality. I refuse to change my national citizenship. This is what I have to say to all of you Good Advisors today. I hope that we Chinese will not simply imitate the West and koutou to foreign countries. We must work on behalf of our country. Now let's recite the name of Guanyin Bodhisattva. We will stop when the time is up.
To be continued