Mr. Fox: "I admire the principles which you
have spoken and the students who work so vigorously to study them. Previously
sI was worried about my on, but now I am at ease."
you go back to work, do not worry about things that are already
past. While doing things, use your wisdom to ensure that they are
done well. When they are completed, do not continue to think about
them. Quiet your mind. It is best to view life as a play, and not
think of it as being too real; then fewer worries and problems will
bother you. You will be able to come and go with freedom and
independence. If what is good and what is not good are seen as
fundamentally without difference, then you are without problems,
without the slightest bit of trouble. If you discriminate good as
good, and not good as not good, then you are turned by external
states of mind. If you run after these outside states, then the more
you run, the further you stray from your original home. If you are
not moved, you remain in your original home. View your body as if it
were heaven and earth. Although heaven and earth include between
them all the ten thousand things, nevertheless they are not
separate. If you understand this principle, nothing in the world can
torment or worry you. Isn't this wonderful?
Dharma, the teaching of the Buddha, universally penetrates.
There are no fixed Dharmas. Dharma is constant like the water of a river which
flows smoothly on and is not attached in any place. If you say that a Dharma
is fixed, then it immediately becomes a dead Dharma. The Diamond Sutra
says, 'One should, not dwelling anywhere, produce a thought.' This is what
is meant by 'no fixed Dharma'.
An example of an unfixed Dharma is the relationship
between parents and children which is established by parents in such a
way that children will be filial and respectful. But some children beat
and kill their parents. How then can this Dharma of filial piety be fixed?
Some parents frequently scold their children. Others think their children
are wonderful, and spoil them. Neither of these follows the way of filial
piety, so this Dharma is not fixed among parents either. Nothing is permanent or certain.
We have discussed technological progress. Man
has invented many things which are of great benefit. However, man
has also invented hydrogen and atomic bombs. With these have come
various bizarre diseases which are difficult to cure. Modern
conveniences bring both benefit and disaster. Therefore, in the
midst of good there is bad; in the midst of bad there is good.
Before there were trains and buses, there were
no derailments or bus accidents; consequently, no one was killed in
such disasters. People used to die at home. Now there are far more
untimely, unexpected deaths. Airplanes suddenly fall out of the sky.
This is just like eating people. Long ago, there were more tigers to
worry about, but one tiger ate only one or two people a a time. Now
one derailment or airplane crash eats hundreds of people. When
personal safety was just a matter of avoiding tigers, we could take
precautions, we could walk on tiptoe. But, now there is no way for a
passenger to ensure his safety against a derailment or airplane crash.
This is an example of 'the Dharma of opposition’. For everything, there
is an opposite; good opposes bad and confusion opposes understanding. What is true
opposes the false."
Mr. Fox: "It's
not the planes, trains, and other machines, but the people who
build, use, and maintain them that cause the accidents."
Master: "That is true. Disasters result
from karma, from the actions of living beings. Therefore, one cannot
say that the machines are either good or bad.
Two thousand years ago, if people had been
told about airplanes, buses, and other self-powered vehicles, they
would not have believed that these could exist. Moreover, if a plane
had flown overhead at that very moment, it might well have been
worshipped as a god. But now, we know that a plane is just a plane,
a thing made by man, the fruit of scientific and technological progress.
Hydrogen and atomic bombs have existed in this
world for a short time, but if you think on a larger scale,
considering all of time and space, then you will understand that
these phenomena are quite common. Now man is able to fly to the
moon, but going to the moon is just the play of children. From the
point of view of small children, it seems very special, but from the
cosmic point of view, it is just as it ought to be. When a child has
a new toy, he treasures it, thinking that he is the first to have it.
Every world system passes through a cycle of
four periods: birth, dwelling, decay, and emptiness. A kalpa is a long period of time, measuring
hundreds of millions of years. One thousand kalpas are equal to one
small kalpa; twenty small kalpas are equal to one middle-size kalpa;
and four middle-size kalpas constitute one great kalpa. When a
particular world system passes through the four periods, it
completes one cycle. In a cycle of one great kalpa, each period of
change lasts for twenty small kalpas. Over such long periods of
time, the new becomes old and the old becomes new again. The same is
true of people. We are born, we grow up, we grow old, and then we
die. The cycle continues as we are born, and grow up, grow old, and
then die. The principle is as true for people as it is for countless
aeons of world systems."
Mr. Fox: "Now
that lunch has been eaten, we digest the food. In the same way, the
wisdom which you speak is also being digested. It seems that from
the beginning people have not changed. Our brains continue to think
without stopping so we invent more and more new things. Because of
this ceaseless thinking, although the inventions may change, people
remain more or less the same."
people continue to think and invent, but who tells us to think? Is
it this physical brain? When a person dies, certainly his brain
still exists, but although it continues to exist in the corpse, it
no longer performs the function of thought.
All these inventions are really not new. They
have been before. A person who wishes to study all knowledge will
find that after ten years, he has forgotten many of the things which
occurred ten years before; after twenty years, he will have
forgotten a little more, until as an old man he will have forgotten
the events of his childhood. In the same way, all of these
inventions have been before. It is just that people have forgotten
that they once had them, and now they discover them once again.
For example, originally I wrote characters
vertically in columns, as they are normally written. Then I began
writing horizontally from right to left, and then back again left to
right, line after line down the page. The characters, however, were
to still be read in the usual way, in columns. Everyone was greatly
surprised at this. But now, after having seen it for a long time,
they no longer think it special."
"Many things are this way, but no one takes the trouble to ask why,
to investigate the source of this continuous change and renewal."
Master: "This question of 'why?'
is basically a matter of man's limitless potential. Everything lies
within the power of the true mind of man. Therefore it is said, 'The
ten thousand things arise from the self-nature of living beings, and
are not separate from the self-nature.'"
(The final installment of
"The Fox Record" will appear in next month's issue.)