The Venerable Master said, “If you don’t know that your mind actually exists, you won’t understand your life. When you come, you come confused. You don’t know where you came from. When you go, you also leave with confusion and have no idea where you are going next.” Isn’t this true for all the living beings in the world?
I remember when I was in elementary school, I had a classmate who had a heart disease and took leave from school. His mother loved him very much and fed him pig’s heart everyday because of the ancient remedy and belief of “eating hearts will mend hearts.” I often saw him eating pig’s heart since I lived next door. He stayed on this pig heart diet for a while. Nonetheless, he died unfortunately at the age of twelve. If they had understood the Buddhadharma, would his mother still have had the audacity to feed him pig’s hearts?
During that same period of time, there was an orphan in the village. He did not receive a grade school education. He started working as a laborer when he was a teenager. He worked out in the open under the sun everyday; therefore his skin was fairly dark. He was an honest and hardworking man, whom people had a very good impression of. Due to his meager wages, he could barely make ends meet. I often saw him eating meals of only rice with soy sauce.
One day, he dressed up neatly and laid down on the crossroad in front of a store. He never woke up. He thought life was too hard, so he committed suicide by drinking pesticide. He was only nineteen then. The villagers could not do anything for him other than lament his loss. If he had understood the Buddhadharma and the law of cause and effect, would he still have killed himself?
Many people come into the world muddled and leave in confusion as well. They do not know where they came from at birth, nor do they know where they are going after death. We travel between birth and death and never stop and rest. We now are very fortunate that we have met the Venerable Master. We understand the wonderful dharma of the mind, living beings and the Buddha. We should cultivate and hope that we can put an end to birth and death. Not only we should we liberate ourselves, but we should also bring forth the great Bodhi resolve to help all living beings be free from birth and death. We should cause everyone to come and go with clear understanding; as a result, there will no longer be any suffering of coming and going in confusion.
(2) February 10, 2003 What is not Wonderful?
Today, the Venerable Master said, “Tell me, what in front of your eyes is not wonderful?” These words are truly wonderful. The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is now located where there once was a hospital. Now it has become a Way-place where the Dharma is propagated; the Tathagata Monastery was once a facility for mental patients and now it contains the dwellings of monastics. All of you are sitting right now here listening to the Dharma. Don’t you think this is also wonderful?
When Dharma Master Dong-Chu visited the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, he thought that geography of the City closely resembled that of Mount Gridrhakuta. He suggested that we name this place Wonderful Enlightenment Mountain. Since the Venerable Master brought the Buddhadharma to the West and vowed to create myriad Buddhas, our Way-place was then named the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, which would become the place of origin of Buddhism. Thus, the saying goes, “Coming from the east, the first place was Wonderful Enlightenment Mountain; the origin of the Way in the west is the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.’
With his vast and far-sighted vision, the Venerable Master wanted to build the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas as a large monastic community. It was a pity that the local people did not understand Buddhism and rejected the proposal for the Wonderful Enlightenment Mountain Plan at the public hearing in 1992.
In the past ten years, everyone worked hard and silently. We continue to welcome and influence Westerners to learn the Buddhadharma. We have also expanded the scope of Honoring Elders Day and Cherishing Youth Day and try our best to be a good neighbor. The people in the neighborhood are now willing to send their children to our schools. As a result, the proposal for this huge project finally passed in 2002. It proved that our efforts were not wasted. “Everything happens for the best.” Everything in CTTB is just so wonderful that we cannot describe it in words, so the most wonderful Dharma is being spoken to us everywhere.