What is delusion? Delusion means being confused. You may think, “I have studied a lot; I understand literature and am well-versed in the languages of various countries. I am not confused.“ If you are not confused, then I am. In what ways am I confused? I am confused because there are many things I don‘t understand and there is a lot of dharma I don’t know how to speak.
Confused people have this kind of delusion. He thinks, “These flowers are very pretty. However, after they bloom for a time, they will wither. How wonderful would it be if the flowers stayed beautiful and fresh every day.” He thinks,
“Beautiful flowers should stay abloom every day - the flowers are lovely and I‘d like them to stay blooming and pretty day after day. People who are obsessed with flowers think like this.
People who like to gaze at the moon think, “I enjoy watching the moonlight. Sitting in the garden to gaze at the moon is the most wonderful thing in life. However, the moon is only full on the fifteenth day of every month. How nice it would be if the moon were full every night! Therefore, he thinks,
“The moon should be full night after night! Why isn’t the moon full every night? If it is full everyday, I can enjoy the scenery every night. That’s the delusion of moongazers.
Those who like to drink are also subject to delusion. A wine-lover thinks, “I have to spend money to buy wine every day. How nice it would be if the water in all the springs and pools became wine! When I want to have a drink, I won’t have to spend any money buying wine. I only need to take a bottle to fetch some wine and get drunk. How nice would that be!” This is their wishful thinking:
May all the springs and pools on Earth turn into wine. This is the fantasy for people who are obsessed with wine.
Moneygrubbers have another crazy thought. What are they thinking? They say, “Even though we use bills, which are nothing but paper, we still have to work hard in order to earn it.” And they fantasize,
“May money grow on every tree in all the forests! Suppose all the leaves on the trees became money. Then no one would have to work anymore. When money is needed, we simply go to the money tree and pick some leaves to use as money. How fine that would be! We use paper money nowadays; however in ancient times, people used copper coins. When people shake these money trees, their leaves fall and money drops down.” Such are their foolish fantasies. How could they understand? This is a kind of inconceivable and wonderful dharma.
There is another type of fool, who has never studied for even a day, yet wishes to obtain a PhD or Master’s degree; it is impossible. It is like someone, who has never planted the field and wishes to harvest crops when he sees someone else doing so. How can you reap a harvest when you have not sown anything? This is also a kind of delusion. There are too many people with these kinds of foolish fantasies. The most inconceivable ones are those who have never bought a lottery ticket but want to win the lottery. They just sit there waiting to hit the jackpot. They think, “This time I’ll hit the jackpot for sure.” They didn’t even buy a lottery ticket; how could they hit the jackpot? Well, that’s the way they are. If they were not like that, they wouldn’t be deluded. Being deluded means one wishes for the impossible. It is like a toad wishing to get the moon out of the sky. All this is wishful thinking. Fantasizing about obtaining something you don’t deserve is a kind of delusion.
There is no way to finish explaining the three poisons. The reason we have not become Buddhas is because the three poisons have obstructed us from attaining genuine wisdom. It is very important to diligently practice the precepts, concentration and wisdom; and put an end to greed, hatred and delusion. If everyone can do this, the world will be peaceful and free from troubles.
Those who are on the Path should discipline themselves and conduct themselves with propriety. What does this mean? Self-discipline consists of constant self-reflection and being in control of oneself. If everyone has self-discipline and behaves with propriety, the world will be peaceful and free from contention. If everyone disciplines himself and conducts himself properly, this world will be at peace. We should not mind other people’s business. It would be the best if we can be like “the Mahasattva who doesn’t mind others and Amitabha, who looks after himself.” Discipline yourself and don’t wash other people’s laundry. When you faultfind, you are not even aware that you are working for others. When you do other people’s laundry, you always look at their faults. “He did this wrong and he did that wrong.” It’s just like looking at dirty stains on others’ clothes and wanting to wash their clothes for them.
We cultivators should always recognize our own faults and not contend with others. When seeking the Path, there is only one way. However, when arguing about principle, there are two sides. We cultivators should not act like a camera that keeps taking photographs of others. If you ask the camera to take a picture of itself, it can’t do it. Therefore, always acknowledge your faults and not defend yourself. Don’t debate with others about what’s right and what’s wrong. If you don’t fight for rights and wrongs, you will find peace. You will feel safe and wisdom will come forth. When that happens, you will understand your mind and see your inherent nature. If you understand your mind, you will not find anything to be difficult. When you see your own inherent wisdom, you will have no worries. Thus, seeing the inherent nature, one has no sorrows. If you understand the mind, then nothing is hard; if you see the nature, you will never know sorrow or difficulty.” The Buddha’s light shines everywhere. It’s not the case that the Buddha’s light does not shine on us. It’s just that we have been deluded by sorrow, hatred and afflictions. As a result, we are confused all the time. If we want to return to the origin, to regain enlightenment and turn our back on confusion, we must always recognize our own faults and shortcomings. Therefore, I often tell people this verse, and I don’t mind repeating it here.
Truly recognize your own faults. You must be very honest, sincere and straightforward in acknowledging your own faults.
Don’t discuss the faults of others. Whenever you speak, don’t just discuss others’ problems, gossip about what happened in this or that family, or blabber useless nonsense. Instead, you should contemplate that, “Others’ faults are just my own”; others’ mistakes are just my own mistakes. If I were truly correct, then other people would not be at fault. So, it is said, “Others’ faults are just my own.” If you can recognize that others’ mistakes are just your own, you will become one with others. This is genuine compassion. Didn’t we talk about being compassionate without any conditions? The less affinities you have with someone, the more compassionate you should be to them. Being compassionate to those without affinities means the compassion is unconditioned.
Being one substance with others means not discriminating among people. That’s true compassion. Thus,
“being one with all is called the great compassion.” Even though these verses are very simple and easy to understand, you must practice them in your own life. Only through personal practice can they be effective.
We have profound affinities with one another and that’s why are able to gather here to study the Buddha Dharma. In addition, Dharma Master Chao-Chen (Transcending the Dust) has taken time out of his busy schedule to come and support this assembly with his presence. I think the time is up. If people sit for too long, they will fall asleep. I hope no one falls asleep here. Anyone who has any questions can bring them up now;we can discuss them so that people become more alert and do not enter the sleeping Samadhi. I think there are no questions. If there were any, Dharma Master Chao-Chen would have already answered them perfectly. Jin-Hua is also very clever. You see, a bhikshuni can establish such a huge Way Place. This is an inconceivable state. I believe that you do not have any problems you can’t resolve. Those of you who speak English can correspond with our Western monks, as they were advertised on the newspaper, to see how “Western” they are.