All Good Advisors:
In returning to the Republic of China this time, I’m extremely moved. I hope after this Dharma Assembly, the entire nation of the Republic of China will be issuing humane directives that will make this country prosperous, its people at peace, the harvests abundant, and the citizens happy, and that there shall be no disasters. As it is said: “May the wind and rain be favorable and timely.” I further hope that national leaders and the populace will work hard at the governance of this country, so that it will be “like the days of Yao and Shun” and “the time Tai Tsung ruled.” Everyone should fulfill his or her responsibilities: leaders should fulfill their responsibilities and citizens should fulfill their responsibilities. They should yield to each other and not fight; they should respect one another, and not destroy the lives or wealth of this country. This is my hope.
Furthermore, we hope to conduct an annual “Great Compassion Guanyin Dharma Assembly for Protecting the Country and Ending Disasters”, so that Guanyin Bodhisattva will guard this country and its populace with his inconceivable and mighty spiritual powers. However, we as ordinary citizens and as a nation must show our sincerity. What does it mean to have a sincere heart? We hope the entire country will stop all forms of killing, gambling and illicit behavior during this Dharma Assembly. This is critical.
Since everyone will, following the ancients, “observe a vegetarian diet and the precepts and bathe themselves, they may serve Heaven.” We are connected to Heaven, but we forget the path to Heaven. Each of us takes his or her individual path. Since we don’t realize that Heaven is interested in the preservation of life, we create problems. We hope that no group in this country gets involved in riots or protests. Don’t incite violence, which would cause people to fight among themselves. That would be a grave mistake.
We should coexist in peace as well-mannered citizens. Using violence to seize advantages is never an ultimate solution. You rob others of their rights and others will rob your rights. You kill others and others will kill you too. You hit others and others will hit you. This is just cause and effect. If you were to respect others, others would also respect you. As it is said, “Those who respect others are always respected; those who love others are always loved.” You kill others and they will always want you killed. You beat up others, and they will beat you. This is the way it goes with cause and effect. Plant good causes and you shall reap fruits of goodness; plant evil causes and you shall reap fruits of evil. Plant eggplants and you will not produce hot peppers. Each of you ought to shoulder the responsibility of being extremely compassionate for the sake of the “Great Compassion Guanyin Dharma Assembly to Protect the Nation and Quell Disasters”.
Compassion uproots suffering. Guanyin Bodhisattva uproots our suffering. Kindness bestows joy. Bestowing happiness and uprooting suffering are the acts of Bodhisattvas. Each of us should learn to be kind and compassionate, joyous and equanimical like Guanyin Bodhisattva and help others. “The root of happiness lies in helping others.” Help others so that everyone will be happy. It’s no happiness when you want personal gain without helping others. That would not be real, impartial and selfless joy. Even if you were to attain it by chance on occasion, it would disappear soon.
“That which did not come by proper means will leave easily.” Easy come, easy go. Everyone should know this regardless of the occupation we’re in – academia, agriculture, manual labor, business or government. Academicians should study well. Farmers should farm well and reap a larger harvest. Laborers must fulfill their responsibilities. It’s not just about working for others but being responsible in serving the country. Don’t try to cheat on labor or material. Don’t be sloppy. Business people ought to make some profit without being opportunistic. You should never cheat children and elders. Make sure your goods are real and your prices reasonable. Don’t get a lot of fake goods to deceive others. Cheat other people now and other people will cheat you in the future. Government officials must be public servants in resolving every difficult issue their citizens face.
Each of us must be content with our occupation and keep to our basic role. Don’t be mistaken about the role you play. “Being a member of the elite, one should conduct onself like an elite. Being poor, one should act according to one’s economic status. Being a foreigner, one should behave like a foreigner. Being a troubled victim, one should act accordingly.” We should live up to our position, whatever it might be; that is the basic duty of a human being.
Do you all understand my Mandarin? Some people want to ask me some difficult questions. I don’t know if I can answer your questions if you ask me now. If I answer incorrectly, please help me answer these hard questions.
Okay, there’s not much time left now, only fifteen minutes. Anyone who wants to ask questions, hurry.
Layperson: We took refuge before but never met the Master in person. We have already received our refuge certificates, but could we take refuge again?
Master: Ask yourself. I don’t know how to talk business.
Layperson: Could the Master please extend your stay in the world for another thirty years?
Master: I’m going to die tonight.
Layperson: I’d like to ask the Master about the line, “Form is emptiness and emptiness is form” in the
Prajna Heart Sutra. I had been affected by this and could not see through this. Will the Master please instruct me on how to break through this barrier of “form is emptiness and emptiness is form.” Amitofo!
Master: You were born by form and will die in form. That’s all. Without seeing through this, you will be born in form and die in form still.
Layperson: I have had a question for a long time, and that is I am really bothered by lots of cockroaches, ants etc. that I see at home. I can’t kill as a Buddhist, so I can’t exterminate the cockroaches and ants. The average layperson is frequently troubled by this. Will the Master instruct us on how to deal with this?
Master: Clean things up and don’t be sloppy; then they’ll disappear.
Layperson: Can we only recite the Shurangama Sutra in the temple? Could it be at home? I heard people say that pregnant women who recite the Shurangama Mantra will have miscarriages; is that credible?
To be continued