Gwo So-and-So, if you have any skill, you should make your hair turn black. Then you will be considered to be a true disciple of mine. If you cannot do it, it’s useless. You gossip about people everyday till your hair has turned gray. You don’t distinguish between right and wrong anymore. You must change. Put down everything. Don’t worry about your son, daughter, husband, grandsons or anything else. Just recite Amitabha Buddha’s name from morning to night. Whether someone says good things or bad things about you, it doesn’t really matter. You see how wonderful this is. If you can become like this, you will have endless joy!
Recite Amitabha Buddha’s name to the point that you are constantly reciting whether you are walking, standing, sitting, or reclining. In walking, standing, sitting, and reclining, you are reciting Amitabha Buddha’s name. You see how wonderful this is. This world is so huge. Through out the Dharma Realm and to the ends of space, all of it is my world. How wonderful is that! Why do you limit yourself to a space that is only as big as a mote of dust and tell people, “You are not welcome in my place” and things like that. Don’t behave like that. My thinking pervades the entire Dharma Realm and reaches to the ends of empty space. Whether my disciples are good or bad, I gather you in the same way and treat you equally. Even if you think ill of me, I still treat you well with the genuine heart of a teacher. Even if you scold me, it is quite all right. There are people who slander me frequently. I do not blame them at all but still gather them in with compassion. This is how I am. You should open your eyes to recognize what your teacher is like. I am not as petty and small as you think I am. I pervade the entire Dharma Realm and reach to the ends of space. The Buddhist Lecture Hall is the same way, in having no boundary or limit. It is all-inclusive.
You recited the Buddha’s name very well today. Amitabha Buddha has already extended his hand waiting to take those who are willing to be born in the Western Pure Land. However, do not be afraid. The time is not now but rather in the future. Whatever we do, we need to prepare in advance. Before we pass away, we must make preparations for when we die. So, when we recite the Buddha’s name to the point where we are single-minded without confusion, we will be as if we have entered samadhi. In that state, the body has no suffering, the mind is not attached, the consciousness is not deluded and it’s as if we entered dhyana. The Buddha and the assembly of Sages will hold the golden dais to take us to the Western Pure Land. The assembly of Sages refers to Amitabha Buddha and all the pure sea-like assembly of Bodhisattvas. If we wait till the moment of our death to recite the Buddha’s name, it will be too late. Therefore, we must recite the Buddha’s name ahead of time in preparation for our departure.
Let me tell you something. I am not afraid of divulging the secrets of heaven today. If I let out the secrets of heaven, I let out the secrets of heaven. When I came to the United States to propagate the Buddhadharma, why were there so many American disciples who ventured forth into the monastic life? Let me tell you the honest truth. These Americans did not just enter the monastic life now. They entered the monastic life back in the Han Dynasty. In both the Sui and Jin Dynasties, there were people who entered the monastic life. The number of monastics peaked in the Tang Dynasty when Master Xuan Zhuang was translating sutras. Those people were the ones who worked in the translation bureau.
In every dynasty such as the Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing, there were people who entered the monastic life. So, those of you who have entered the monastic life now were actually monastics in China in the past and most of you were my disciples. I am telling you the truth. Whether you believe it or not is up to you. At that time, we thought about translating the sutras into English. In order to do this, one must understand foreign languages. Therefore, we investigated this issue regarding what to do. At that time, I made this over-ambitious vow: “I want to propagate the Buddhadharma in other countries.” Therefore, some of my disciples also made such vows and said: “I shall be born in that country first so that I can learn to speak that particular language fluently. Then when the Master comes to propagate the Dharma, we could come to support and help this monastery.” For this reason, I, as an illiterate person, believed what my disciples said. Overestimating my ability, even though I didn’t know any English, I went to America to lecture sutras. It turns out that those people who vowed to help enhance and glorify the Buddhadharma have come forth like gushing water. You don’t believe it? If you don’t believe it, take a look at the faces of these monastics. They, to a certain extent, look Chinese and have a certain amount of Chinese energy and blood in them. However, people do not have spiritual penetrations to know past lives. As a result, they do not know the previous causes and conditions. I am telling you what the general situation is. These are the causes and conditions of why so many foreigners have come to enter the monastic life as my disciples.
Why are they translating into English? Well, one era is different from another. In the Tang Dynasty, the sutras being translated were more than eight hundred in number with more than three thousand translators. Now, it is the scientific age when everything is automated. Therefore, not many people are needed for this task. However, it is not the case that more people are not a good thing. In the future, we will have more and more people. This is just the beginning. Our vows are such that we want to translate all the sutras into English. For many years, there weren’t any real Buddhist monastics in the West. Why? It’s attributed to the fact that the sutras were not translated into English. If there are no English sutras, Westerners will not be able to comprehend the Buddhadharma easily. This is the biggest problem. Now, we are not dropping atomic bombs in overpopulated areas to solve problems. Instead, we are putting sutras in overpopulated areas to protect against dangerous situations.
Since all the people in this world are so caught up in materialistic life, they live as if drunk and die as if in a dream. They confuse the enjoyment of pleasure with truth, which is totally wrong. What is the truth? We must resolve the problem of birth and death. Then, we can consider ourselves to understand the truth. People who learn the Buddhadharma must investigate and understand the problem of birth and death. Knowing that this is the most important matter, you will not attend to the trivial and forsake what’s fundamental. You will not seek what’s far and forsake what’s near. You will not forget what your own responsibilities are and keep seeking after superficial matters.
In the West, there are a lot of people who forget the principles of how to be human. They twist the meaning of freedom into the idea that no one should discipline them. They think, “If I want to kill, I can kill; if I want to commit arson, I can set fires. Should I desire to kill people with bombs, I have the power to do so.” Many Western societies are like this right now. Take a look at Hong Kong where gangsters are everywhere. It is truly the case that people have misunderstood the meaning of freedom. They think that freedom means no discipline; and that they are greater than Heaven. Consequentially, they started shooting and wipe many people out of existence. There are many examples of this, particularly in the United States. There were the Hell’s Angels and other such gangs with odd names that gave the police many headaches. When we want to solve these problems, we must use principles in Buddhism as the ultimate solution.
Therefore, we want to translate the Buddhist sutras. Why? It’s because we want to save the lives of all human beings. Why do we hold sutra lectures? Our intention is to save the souls of all living beings. We simply cannot resolve these problems by being aggressive and using atomic or hydrogen bombs. Instead, we should use the Buddha’s teachings as the solution. The more we compare yourself with others, the more competitive we get. If you are better than me, I want to strike you down so I can be even more outstanding. If you create an airplane that can fly 100,000 feet high, I will outdo you by building one that can soar up to 200, 000 feet, 100,000 feet higher than yours. You will not be able to attack me with your weapons. Hence my spiritual powers are superior to yours. Indeed, these are very high spiritual powers. Take a look around the world. Everyone has spiritual powers. Let me tell you, in the future, images will be able to display themselves without a television. People will not need a telephone to communicate with one another. It will all be due to the fact that people will have spiritual powers. In five hundred years, all our current technology will be obsolete. If the human race is not destroyed then, the advances in technology will be even more wonderful and magical. However, you should know that good things do not last; they are impermanent. The faster you advance, the faster you race to your death. Let’s take a current fact as an example. The areas that are close to Denmark and Norway are covered with ice right now. This place called Greenland in the eighth century turned out to be an oasis in the eighth century and greater in its size than the United States. Since the eighth century, there was more and more ice day by day. The icy areas became larger and larger. Eventually the entire area was covered by ice.