All intelligent good advisors, all foolish bad advisors, and all advisors who are neither good nor bad relative to the ignorant: In other words, good advisors know well how to save all living beings with expedients. Bad advisors are adherents of cults and those outside the Path. Advisors who are neither good nor bad are those without any knowledge in particular—they’re ordinary people who don’t have much knowledge about the truth and yet haven’t really learned the ignorance of the bad advisors. There are many types of people, many states of mind, and many kinds of bodies in this large auditorium. Each person has his or her own distinct conditioning, causes, effects, and retribution to undergo. Why is this? This is because they were not true at the level of planting causes, so the result is twisted. If they had been true at the stage of causation, their
prajna wisdom would definitely manifest now.
Those of us learning the Buddhadharma must forget our personal benefits, which means that we should not contend. Once you contend, there is killing. Killing leads to wars, not peace, in the world. That’s why I say, “Contention involves a sense of victory and defeat, which is to defy the Way and to give rise to the four marks. How could you attain
samadhi as a result?” By contending, you either win or lose. One person wins and the other loses. Gambling is a form of contention. So is buying stocks. Playing the “Everyone is Happy” lottery is to contend. You may play all you want, but you will still be unhappy! After playing several rounds, it becomes “Everyone is Crying.” Why does everyone cry over it? They lost, that’s why. They cry over their losses though it’s too late. There’s no way to undo their losses at that point. Even if you invited Guanshiyin Bodhisattva over, you couldn’t win at that point. What else could you do but cry?
We shouldn’t be happy or sad. “Happy to be here and sad to part, we come to the world in vain.” It would be better this way: “To neither come nor go is to be without joy or sadness.” For everyone to be happy is simply for people to be content with what they have. Don’t act like you’ve gone insane. That’s to be infatuated with wealth. I don’t care if you want to hear this or not, I want to say it. If you don’t want to hear it, you can stop being addicted to money. That issue would be resolved.
You have to understand, when we win, the person who loses is unhappy. If we neither win nor lose, then no one is happy or sad; there are no tears and no joy. How excellent! If you want to be happy, you lose sleep and lose your appetite in your pursuit of happiness. You end up not with happiness, but with tears. That’s not worth it. “Contention goes against the Way.” Not being in accord with the Way, the four marks arise in your mind. When you contend, you give rise to the mark of self, the mark of others, the mark of living beings, and the mark of a life span. If you don’t contend, the four marks wouldn’t exist! Without the four marks, with whom do you contend? How could you attain
samadhi with the four marks? How could you possibly obtain proper concentration? “You will have what is destined for you. Don’t seek for what you are not destined to have.” If that money were meant for you, it would come to you. If it were not meant for you, you would not get to keep it even if you try to rob it. You should understand that, even though you don’t want to hear what I have to say.
Good medicine is bitter to the taste but cures the illness.
Truthful words are hard on the ear, but truly help a person.
I’ll tell you something else that’s true. You can spend all the money you want, but you can’t get people to tell you the truth. Without asking you to pay a cent, I’m telling the truth. If you don’t want to hear it, it’s because you don’t have enough virtue. If you had enough virtue, you would change and become less greedy and contentious. Free from greed, you wouldn’t fantasize and seek outside for what you want. Further, if you are not selfish, then you will not always be thinking about how to benefit yourself.
I have often heard the Taiwanese say, “It’s human nature to be selfish. Everyone ought to be selfish.” Such an idea is wrong. If you are selfish, you will attract disasters and accidents out of the blue. While I am the host of this Guanyin Great Compassion Dharma Assembly to Protect the Nation and Quell Disasters, each of you should be responsible for guarding the nation. How? We should “Live the years of our lives in peace by fulfilling our obligations, and go through the seasons in accordance with principles.” Don’t contend. “Don’t do to others what you would not want done to you.” I must first not kill if I don’t want others to kill me. I must stop scolding others if I don’t want others to scold me. I ought to practice patience if others were to scold me, beat me, or try to kill me. If I want to reduce the debt of life I owe to others, I should simply let others take my life. If I do not owe any debt, then this is an added savings. I will not kill though. I will yield rather than contend.
Don’t be selfish or self-benefiting. Once you’re neither selfish nor self-benefiting, you will not be afraid to tell the truth. Why are you afraid to say the truth? Is it because you don’t want to hear the truth? It is because of selfishness. Selfishness buries people’s inherent nature, conscience and ethics. Think it over carefully, why did I spend several decades being a muddled person? Why do I always do such absurd things? Why do I go against the principles? If you can think about these, you are protecting the country. If instead, you are willing to go to any length to trick people and gain advantages for yourself, then you are not protecting the country. In a country, “The citizenry is the foundation of the nation; when the foundation is solid, the nation will be at peace.” You are a member of the country, but if you harbor unwholesome thoughts and do unwholesome things, how can you guard the country? If you really want to protect and cherish the country, you must be loyal to your country, which means, “Do not do to others what you would not want done to you.” Try your best to be loyal and forgiving toward others. To guard the country means that you quit taking advantage of others and suffer more losses.
How do you quell disasters? To quell disasters means that you stop hating or resenting people. To quell disasters means that you don’t annoy people. Once you have no disasters, other people will have no disasters either. You have then quelled disasters. In general, to quell disasters and to protect the country begins with the mind. As outstanding citizens, we should not gamble, take drugs, smoke, or drink so much alcohol. Instead, we use the money that would have been spent on these things to do good deeds and help the country. All these acts can protect the country and quell disasters.
“Guanyin” means to contemplate sounds, be
they sounds of goodness or sounds of evil. What does it mean
to contemplate sounds? It means that we stop the sounds of
insult, sounds of killing and fighting in our minds. That is
great compassion. That itself is a Dharma assembly. Great
kindness can provide happiness while great compassion can
eradicate suffering. You have uprooted your suffering if you
are free from the five poisons of hate, resentment,
afflictions, anger, and annoyance. First uproot your own
suffering, then uproot others’ suffering. You must influence
others so that they have no hate, resentment, afflictions,
anger, or annoyance. These five poisons are the reasons we
undergo so much calamity and difficulty, the reasons we are
not kind or compassionate, the reasons we are so confused
that we don’t know the fundamental issues of being human.
To be continued