Some people have asked that I come to Taiwan every year to host a Dharma Assembly to Protect the Country and Quell Disasters. I believe it’s not that useful to have only me come back here for a Dharma assembly to quell disasters. Only when everyone works together will the weather be conducive to a bountiful harvest, making the country prosper and its citizens peaceful. Everyone will be happy. This kind of happiness isn’t happiness that comes from gambling; it’s happiness that comes from praying to the Buddhas for protection, for peace is a blessing. And so, when I do come back again, I hope that everyone could stop killing and follow a vegetarian diet. During the Dharma assembly, everyone in the entire country should stop killing and be vegetarian. Let us move heaven and earth, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and the Dharma-protecting good spirits with our utmost sincerity. Miracles will happen if we are sincere.
That’s why we have the Sangha and Laity Training Programs and Dharma Realm Buddhist University. The Sangha and Laity Training Programs are four-year programs. Initially, I provided scholarships without many conditions. However, once bitten, twice shy. Those who arrived easily found it so convenient that they didn’t behave themselves when they got there. They created all kinds of problems and then left. Since then, we are very careful about admitting students. We reject anyone who isn’t qualified. This is roughly the situation at the university.
Coming back to Taiwan this time, I have tricked you all. I hope that you will not allow me to trick you in the future. Everyone shouldn’t stop killing and should eat more meat—get fat. You will not take such a big loss then. Let me tell you this though: the person who sells pork, the butcher, and the person who eats a pork chop will all be part of a lawsuit at King Yama’s. The butcher says that the man who sold him the pork is responsible for the offense. Each person defends himself. The meateater says, “If you did not sell the pork, I wouldn’t buy the pork chop to eat.” The other one said, “If you did not want to eat that meat, I would not have killed the pig. It’s because you do eat it that I killed it.” All three have their own rationale. In the end, King Yama concludes, “All of you can go and become pigs.”
People who take refuge must be serious about it. Taking refuge with the Triple Jewel isn’t a casual matter or an opportunity to join the fun. Once you take refuge, you certainly cannot join any heterodox groups and cults worshipping gods and demons. Once you take refuge, you cannot read heterodox texts. You need to take refuge with a member of the Sangha who is a pure field of blessings. You cannot take refuge with those who seem like monks in some respects and yet are not. You have to keep the precepts, but not the heterodox precepts that make you imitate cats, dogs, and pigs. You must be serious and be a Buddhist with proper faith after having taken refuge. You must protect and guard the Triple Jewel well. Don’t be irresponsible after having taken refuge, so that instead of protecting the Triple Jewel, the Triple Jewel has to protect you. In the name of the Triple Jewel, you expect clothing from the Buddha and rely on the Buddha for food. You are cheating people by using Buddhism to do business. You claim that this sand is blessed and that dirt is blessed. You tell people that they can quell disasters if they would drink a certain drink that you give them. Perhaps you do know how to quell disasters for other people, but disasters follow at your heels. You may have eliminated disasters for other people, but not for yourself. You don’t have sufficient skill to cure your own sickness. You’ll know this when the retribution occurs.
I’m not trying to scare you but anyone who takes refuge with me, including ghosts and spirits have to listen to my orders. Some of you people aren’t following instructions. Don’t think you are showing respect when you make a full bow to me after I have told you to just make a half bow. If I tell you not to bow and you bow anyway, you are not obeying your teacher.
In the future, you must follow the rules and not just do as you please. Since all of you are very sincere, I have made an exception for you. Usually, I don’t accept offerings from people no matter where I go. However, seeing how sincere you are, I have not paid attention to whether or not I am virtuous enough, but have gone ahead and accepted your offerings to fulfill your wishes so as you may plant roots of goodness. If I am a rock, then no such roots will grow. However, if I am fertile soil, the roots of goodness that you plant will grow bigger by the day. Since I am fulfilling your wish, you should follow the rules and stay in line. Don’t crowd each other by pushing and shoving. I don’t know what to make of such behavior.
I don’t know how to talk, but having said all this, I am back to the same words: if anyone who takes refuge with me does not become a Buddha, then I will not become a Buddha. I will wait for you. However, you must not be lazy. If you’re lazy and don’t cultivate, then I will not wait for you. My vow is for those who are courageous and vigorous. If you don’t cultivate and are the same way before and after taking refuge, then you are excluded from my vow because of your laziness. Do you understand? If you understand, then you must work hard. I will see you at Bodhi, the Fruition of Enlightenment. I have already invited the Triple Jewel throughout the ten directions here. Now let’s read the simple repentance text and briefly do the Three Refuges. There’s not much time left. Tonight, each of you should make the resolve for Bodhi and don’t keep me waiting too long, I still have to drive to Gaoxiong. Now everyone say your Dharma name.
Now that you have completed the Three Refuges, you are all disciples of the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, and the Precepts. Since the Buddha has entered Nirvana, we Buddhists must take the Precepts as our teacher. Therefore, after taking refuge with the Triple Jewel, you must take refuge with the Precepts. If you don’t take refuge with the Precepts, you will not respect the Triple Jewel. If you take refuge with the Precepts, you will do no evil and do everything good. That way you naturally would be disciples of the Triple Jewel. Hence, it’s crucial to take refuge with the precepts.
To be continued