Think about it, everyone. A monk was practicing “three steps, one bow” on the road. If he had no pants on, it would be rather unsightly. In fact, it would look awful. Even though America is a free country, it would not be legal for a monk to bow on the road without pants on. Right after the monk [Heng Yo] told his companion about the situation, he made a turn around a bend in the road. Several dozen steps away, he saw something laying in the middle of the road. He picked it up and took a look. It turned out to be a pair of pants.
Someone asked whether the pants had been blown to that spot by the wind. No! This pair of pants happened to appear when he had no pants to wear. It’s not certain who placed them there. Maybe they were put there by a person, or perhaps by a ghost! Maybe the Bodhisattvas did it. It’s unknown to us. In short, there was a pair of pants there. This is the case of an American monk having no pants to wear.
If people are at a dance club, especially a striptease parlor, it’s normal for people not to wear pants. If someone, especially a monk, is doing “three steps, one bow” on the road, would wearing no pants be permitted? Think about it. It’s absolutely impermissible. Luckily, a pair of pants appeared in the middle of the road so that this difficulty was resolved. Regarding the principles I just talked about, those of you Buddhists who think they are helpful, go ahead and use them. If these principles are not helpful, just forget about them. It’s said, “If something is in accord with the Path, then proceed. If it’s not in accord with the Path, then retreat from it. Choose what’s right to follow and refrain from what’s wrong.” We who are learning the Buddhadharma must endure what others cannot endure and yield what others cannot yield. We eat what others can’t eat and take what others can’t undergo. As spiritual practitioners of the Path, we must be an outstanding and remarkable people. We cultivate what others can’t practice and do what others can’t do in order to accomplish what others can’t achieve. Thus, each one of us must tread our path on solid ground – meaning being true and honest in cultivation in accordance with the Buddhadharma. We should rid ourselves of bad habits and change our faults. When we undertake spiritual practice, we should “refrain from all evil and do all good deeds”. If we can follow this principle, we will certainly reap wholesome results.
Who has a question? I am not going to talk any further. I hope that Ci-En Monastery will flourish day by day; the Abbot will be healthy so that he can dwell in this world to propagate the Buddhadharma in order to teach and transform living beings. It is my wish that from today onwards, all of you will start cultivating seriously. Become Buddhas soon. This is my expectation for you.
Homage to the eternally abiding Buddhas of the ten directions.
Homage to the eternally abiding Dharma of the ten directions.
Homage to the eternally abiding Sangha of the ten directions.
Homage to Shakyamuni Buddha.
Homage to the Foremost Shurangama at the Buddha’s Summit.
Homage to Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva.
Homage to Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva.
To the compassionate Dhama Master Chao-Chen (“transcend the dust”) and all the wise teachers – Heng Ju just said that the weather is wonderful and so is this Bodhimanda and the food here. In fact, I think the weather is very hot; the Bodhimanda is huge; and the food we eat is also too much. Is this ultimately wonderful? I don’t know. However, the wonder comes precisely from the not knowing. If you understand it, it is no longer wonderful. If you understand, it’s wonderful and yet not wonderful. If you don’t understand, it’s not wonderful yet wonderful.
Our life is a wonderful one. From the time we are born until the time we die, we are muddled all along. We come to this world in confusion – this is considered to be “wonderful”. We die in confusion as well, so we say we go “wonderfully”. It is wonderful because we can’t comprehend it. When it is unspeakable, it is wonderful. When things are explained and you understand, it is no longer wonderful. The word “wonderful” in the name Wonderful Dharma Monastery is inconceivable. One simply cannot finish talking about its meaning. Venerable Master Zhizhe expounded upon the word “wonderful” in Nanjing for ninety days, during which he only explained this word and still failed to fully explain its meaning. Not only ninety days, even ninety months, ninety years or even ninety kalpas would still be insufficient to talk about this word.
Why? If one could finish talking about it, it would no longer be wonderful. The wonder is limitless and boundless. It is unimaginable and inexpressibly multilayered. Our “Wonderful Dharma Monastery” also has limitless meanings and is inconceivable. This Bodhimanda is a newly established monastery in Vietnam. This new Bodhimanda can guide and transform some new youth so they become new Bodhisattvas and new Buddhas. Even when one becomes a new Buddha, one still could not fully elucidate the word “wonderful”.
Those who learn the wonderful Dharma should always be happy and not get afflicted. The ancient people had a verse: “The immortals of old have no other way; they are always happy and never worry.” If you are always happy and never troubled, you have understood part of the wonderful Dharma. Wonderful Dharma means having no afflictions. If you can control your afflictions and give rise to deep faith in the Buddhadharma that is free from doubts, you have comprehended part of the wonderful Dharma. You haven’t understood it completely, but because you have no doubts, you will not retreat. Not retreating means you always advance with vigor. This is one of the Six Perfections. Vigor is categorized into physical vigor and mental vigor. With your body, you diligently cultivate observing the moral precepts, meditational concentration, and transcendental wisdom.
Observing the moral precepts is to refrain from doing any evil and offer up all good. If you do no evil at all, there will not be any evil karma coming to obstruct you. If you do all good deeds, wholesome gods and spirits will come to support and protect you. Observing the moral precepts is to change from doing evil and go toward what’s good. Concentration is frequently cultivating
samadhi. Don’t be so impetuous and scattered. Not being scattered is a state of concentration. From the state of concentration, wisdom is developed. Being concentrated means, at all times, you cultivate
samadhi without being impetuous. Whenever you are in a situation, you will not be impulsive or hasty but very calm instead. This is compared to clear water, in which all the dirt has subsided and sunk to the bottom. It is said: “The moon is reflected in the water of a clear mind; there are no clouds in the sky of a concentrated mind.” If your mind is clear, it is like clear water that can reflect the moonlight. If you mind is focused, it’s just like a cloudless sky. Thus, it is said: “In a thousand pools, there are a thousand reflections of the moon. If there is no cloud for ten thousand miles, there are ten thousand miles of clear sky.” If you have this kind of
samadhi, wisdom will come forth. Wisdom is also known as
prajna. Why don’t we translate prajna as wisdom? It is because wisdom is common and vulgar while
prajna is honorable and respectable. Out of respect, this term is not translated. There are three kinds of
prajna: literary prajna, contemplative prajna and
prajna of reality. From samadhi, wisdom is developed. So, this is to diligently cultivate the moral precepts, concentration and transcendental wisdom.
The other part is to put an end to greed, hatred and delusion. You should get rid of greed as well as hatred and delusion. Greed is the root of limitless eons of births and deaths. Greed here refers to endless cravings. Desires for material goods, reputation and social status are provoked by greed. One who is free from greed can let go of everything. But people are greedy for fame, benefits, social rank; monastics are greedy for offerings – all of this is greed. Or one wants to be a leader - all this is greed.
Driven by greed, people engage in many confused, irrational and abnormal deeds. Greed becomes people’s master and people become its slaves. Why? It’s because they are dominated by greed. Thus, they live as if drunk and die as if in a dream.
One gives rise to hatred when one cannot obtain what one wants. Hatred follows right after greed. Greed originates from ignorance. Why are you greedy? It’s because you don’t truly understand, hence greed comes forth. If you can’t get what you crave for, you become afflicted and hateful. Filled with hatred, you break the law and do illegal acts. When you are deluded, you also break the law and commit crimes. All this behavior is based on delusion. A person who is not deluded will not break the laws.
Due to a single thought of ignorance, greed is produced; from greed, hatred comes forth; based on hatred, delusion arises. These three poisons are very tough and fierce. The reason that we have not become Buddhas is because we have not put an end to greed, hatred and delusion. From countless kalpas until now, regardless of who it is, everyone has the three poisons of greed, hatred and delusion within them. Since we have not eradicated them, we transmigrate in samsara and are submerged in the sea of suffering.
To be continued