From this case, we can tell that when the end of the world arrives, it’s not necessarily the case that it will be destroyed by nuclear weapons. The natural materials in the world could also bring destruction to the world. Hitler, the leader of the German Nazi Party, the head of the demonic horde, originally had a plan back then. He had a scientifically based plan to melt the ice at both the North and South Poles. As soon as all the ice there melted, the human race would be destroyed by the resulting flood.
According to his plan, he was going to preserve the Germans as the only human beings in the world. He planned to take one or two million Germans to the peak of a mountain to escape the flood. See how cruel he was, trying to drown all human beings with a flood from the melted ice. However, his plan didn’t succeed. Nonetheless, natural disasters are sometimes unavoidable. From the eighth century to the fifteenth century, Greenland turned into ice, making it useless for farming or habitation. From here, we can tell that every five hundred years, there is a small change, and every five thousand years, there is a big change. How about in 10,000 years? That’s when people reach the brink of being destroyed.
From this perspective, everything in the world is impermanent. When we cultivate the Way, we are cultivating to be free from impermanence. We resolve to be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss where there is no suffering but only happiness. Even though there may be no atomic bombs dropped in this world, the casualties would be even greater if the ice melts to create a flood. Countless people will die. So the archeologists nowadays say the lands at certain places have sunken. In China, for example, the Bo Sea used to be a mountain; now it has turned into a sea. The Himalayas were originally an ocean; however, it is a mountain range. Thus, there is a bubbling phenomenon in the world: if one place becomes a mountain, another area will turn into a sea. Likewise, on the human body, if a lump grows somewhere, a cavity will appear somewhere else. If there is a protrusion here, there will be a dent over there. The world’s phenomena are just like that, too. If one place bulges out to become a mountain, then another place will cave in to become a sea. If one place is hollowed out to become a sea, another place will rise up to become a mountain. There is energy in nature between heaven and the earth just like people have blood and energy. You should investigate this further and see how many animals, how many kinds of plants, and flying creatures are on the earth; and how many beings are in the sea. In our bodies, there are also a lot of flying creatures and plants; however, they are miniscule in size. Just as you can’t count all the bacteria, so, too you can’t count the number of creatures on the earth. It takes time to understand this principle. I am just giving you a general idea about it.
Do they have any questions? How did you answer him? Buddha is a general name. Just as you are identified as a human, he is also known as a human. If you are known as a ghost, he is also a ghost. All cows and oxen are called cattle. Various kinds of horses are called horses. This is a general name. Just as among people, some have the surname Zhang, some have the surname Lee. The Thus Come One is like a person and is called the Tathagatha (Thus Come One). This is just a general title, of which there are ten. They are the Thus Come One, Worthy of Offerings, One of Proper Knowledge, Perfect in Understanding and Conduct, Skillful in Leaving the World Through Liberation, Unsurpassed Lord, Taming Hero, Teacher of Gods and People, Buddha, and World Honored One. Every Buddha has these ten titles. If you don’t understand this, you are rather ignorant. I can’t teach such clever disciples. I lecture on this everyday and you still can’t comprehend it. If you don’t understand the materials, you must study them. You need to learn to a point that “seemingly clumsy or foolish, one actually becomes wonderfully wise and clever.” It’s because you only try to learn the clever and wondrous ways that you forget about the Thus Come One; you don’t even know or recognize him. This is a very easy question. Not only did you not understand it, you even had to come and ask me about it.
You are a person; he is a person. How many people are there? Tell me. Oh, you say this person is a ghost. In actuality, people are ghosts. Is the Thus Come One the Buddha? The Thus Come One indeed is the Buddha. This is really simple. People are considered ghosts after all. When they die, they become ghosts. The Thus One is one of the ten titles of a Buddha. It’s like before you get married, you have your maiden name. After marriage, you have two surnames. When you take refuge, you will have another name. Upon taking the precepts, you also have a new name as a preceptee. These are all names for people. They all refer to you. There is nothing profound about it.
I came back on the third day of the month. It’s already the seventeenth day, which means more than two weeks have passed. I will be leaving for Thailand from Hong Kong tomorrow. And then I will go to India, and afterwards Ceylon. The itinerary is such that I go to Singapore after Ceylon. The next stop is Saigon, where I am not sure if I will encounter the bombs. I don’t know if my head is harder or the bombs are harder. On Christmas Day, I will arrive in Taiwan. On the 28th, which is the fifteenth day of the eleventh lunar month, I will start lecturing on the Pure Conduct Chapter of the
Avatamsaka Sutra at 6:30pm that night at Zhi-Lian Hermitage. On my return this time, I want to give you a test. It’s said: “Everything is a test to see what you will do.” Wherever I go, I test you to see if you know how to write a report. If you know how, you will pass. If you don’t know how, you fail. What happens if you don’t pass? “If you don’t recognize what’s before your face” if you don’t know it, “you’ll have to start anew.” Having to start over is not a comfortable feeling. When starting anew to retrain yourself, we use fire to smelt you. If the fire is too strong, you won’t be successful. On the other hand, if the fire is not strong enough, you will fail as well. Therefore, the smelting fire needs to be set at the right temperature in order to successfully smelt you.
To be continued