meditation master jinbodhi’s dharma teachings the foundation of compassion hi, everyone!(hi, master!) glad to see you all.are you happy? (yes.) me too. is the statue of our buddha beautiful?(yes.) "beautiful" is the right word. some peoplewould say it looks dignified and majestic. the buddha is the embodimentof complete perfection, and a completely perfect life. what is complete perfection?
all beautiful things we can understandand those incomprehensible and inconceivable. the buddha has them all. how did he achieve this complete perfection? was he born with such a life?was he born into such perfection? i’d think so.the world is full of wonders. in essence, there is no perfect life. the buddha’s complete perfection isdue to his immense compassion and merit. this merit stems from compassion. we need to understand a philosophy.
some people may wonderwhy he has such merit or does such good deeds to free all sentient beings from sufferings. did he know it at birth? some do know at birth; some at 6; someat 18; some at 30; and yet others at 98. but the older you are when you awaken,the later it will be when you enlighten. raise your hand if you’re 98!oh, no one. you all get it early. if you awaken early, you’re early on the path to compassion and enlightenment. the earlier, the more opportunities. with them, your becoming a personof complete perfection is not far away.
such perfection stems from compassion. sakyamuni buddha,the great founding master of buddhism, is an example of transformingfrom a human being to a perfect being. he sets us a role model. hence, generations of buddhist practitioners respectfully address him as namoour cardinal teacher sakyamuni buddha. this title is similar to "yidam" in tantrism. it means "the most important,essential teacher of mine." what formsthe teacher-student relationship then?
learning and then imitating.of course, it’s not total imitation. for example, my teacher likes scienceand teaches me all sorts of knowledge. he is and will remain a teacher. will i become a teacher too? not necessarily. nevertheless, he’s taught me all he knows. i don’t have to be his exact copy.overall, i do imitate him a lot. it’s like different schools of painting. for example, our art teacher specializesin western impressionistic oil painting. as his students, we’ll naturallypaint in impressionistic style. it would take yearsto transcend and advance yourself.
but no matter how much advancement is achieved, your paintings are still impressionistic. so the student-teacher relationshipis learning, teaching and imitating. sakyamuni buddha sets a modelfor all human beings and his disciples. sakyamuni buddha is completely perfect. his birth, life, wisdom, dharma power,merit and all his other supreme qualities, including wisdom, language skill,philosophical thinking, memory, visual power, stamina,and even the ability to endure hardships, differentiate colors, images, and odors,and his ability to observe, and perceive
are all well-above those of ordinary people. hearing my explanation,you may have many questions. he’s a human being whose intelligencesurpasses that of ordinary people. this is somewhat vague, and thereis no room for argument and discussion. for example, his sense of smellis stronger than that of ordinary folks. is it stronger than that of a dog?probably. but we cannot compareour noble buddha with a dog. clearly, each of his abilities is superiorwhen any comparison is made. the buddha says all sentient beingshave the buddha nature;
be it a dog, a cat, a fox or a tiger,they all possess it. what is the buddha nature?it’s the nature of compassion. many living beings possess it. tiger cubs are raised by tigresses, right? are there any "tigresses" here?please raise your hand. none. when you blow up,your husband will call you "a tiger." though you might be called thatin a quarrel, you aren’t a real one. however cruel some animals,they’ll always protect their offspring. this is a common instinct of compassion.
as for abilities, if one’s sense of smellsurpasses that of human beings and dogs, how powerful would it be? i have a personal experience. when i practice vigorously and someonepasses by, i can distinguish his odor. when you don’t practice hard,say, you’re exhausted, you’ve been very tired recently,another’s odor becomes less distinct. if i’ve recently spent more timepracticing and feel peaceful and calm, when the same person passes by,his odor is as distinct as a picture: here is an apple; on this side is a peach;and there is a stream. everything is clear.
from your odor, i can tell your mood: you were angry 3 days ago, but today you’re quite happy. the medicine you took yesterday is revealedin your body odor, which you can’t smell. whatever your body odor is,it’ll be magnified reaching me. oh! you took medicinefor your heart or digestive problem. you may say, "ok, master jinbodhi,you’re an expert on medicinal odors." sorry, i’m neither an expert nor a pharmacist. then, how come i can identify the odorof whatever medicine for whatever diseases? it’s because when the odor emerges,the medicine’s name shows up.
i can’t read it in german or french,but i’m shown the chinese names. this is for nurturing liver and that for stomach. the names and uses are spelled outand transmitted to my mind. doesn’t this faculty far surpass those of ordinary people? bodhisattva guanyin achieved enlightenment using a similar method. what was the method? listening. he made a great vow of compassion same as the buddha’s in front of him. he vowed to forever devote all his lives to freeing all sentient beingsfrom suffering and calamity.
how? by listening for cries of suffering. "wherever there is suffering,i will show up to help." so, he listens. for example, most fortune-tellers are blind. if a blind person can’t hear,it’ll be troublesome as he can’t do his work. hence, many blind people, or thosewith poor eyesight, have sharp hearing. if you use phones for job, like a receptionist, counselor, or telemarketer, it is mainly an auditory experience unlike tv. thus, these people have extremely sharp hearing. upon hearing you,they can gauge your age or gender.
nonsense. of course,it’s easy to tell gender from voice. they can also tell your mood, healthcondition, and interest in a particular matter. all general informationcan be gathered on the phone. if you listen further, you can tell more.let me recount my own experience. when i was young and practiced intensively, i’d know someone’s health and financialcondition by the sound of their footsteps. the friction sound in a person’s footsteps fully reveals his financial situation,mood, and even health. at my best, just by listening toa person’s footsteps, before hearing their voice,
i can tell their future. committed practitioners will gradually, after my talk, have the awareness; they’ll eventually acquire such a skill. so, the master teaches the trade,but the apprentice’s skill is self-made. as i said, if you practice earnestly,you’ll gain such power. our compassionate, noble guanyin bodhisattva is even more powerful. if he listens, what does he listen for? the cries of suffering, the specific needs of people thousands of miles away. are we able to hear them?
a young, active man once came to me.i asked this vigorous 20-year-old man: "you look healthy, so why do youwant to learn from me? i want to learn to walk through walls." he wants me to teach himhow to walk through walls! i said, "i normally walk through wallsusing doors and windows." hearing this, he was disappointed. "my effort will be in vain."his aunt beside him said, "don’t be silly. master has the skill butchooses not to tell. just practice hard." "ok," he said. he thought i had the skillbut refused to share it with him
and i was deliberately humble. three years later, he saw me again. i said, "how is your practice going?"he said he hadn’t walked through walls yet. then he asked me,"master, when can i walk through walls?" i said, "if all you want is to acquire this skill, "you won’t be able to do it even after 10 afterlives unless by punching a holethrough the wall. you can’t do it." but is there such a skill? maybe. whatever power, be it our sense of smell, hearing, visual power like the divine eye and clairvoyance.
yes, such powers existthough some may not be very reliable. they can be achieved through practice. but, if you only aim to achieve such powers, you’ll end up getting none. even if you manage to get them,they’ll bring you bad luck. this reminds me of a traditionalchinese story called lao mountain taoist. a young man who wanted to become richfollowed an old master on lao mountain to acquire the skill of walking through walls. first , the master assigned himhard manual work to cultivate his mind. after 3 years, he couldn’t bear it any longer.
"master, i came to learn how to walkthrough walls. please teach me." the master said, "ok. i can teach you now." the highly-skilled mastertaught him the skill, but said, "you’re not supposed to usethis skill to do evil deeds." when the young manreturned home, he thought, "if i don’t make money from this skill,my efforts will have been in vain. i’ll use it to steal money from the rich." after he entered a house,he was caught red-handed. if you don’t possess merit and compassion,
practicing just to acquire a skillcan only bring you destruction. let’s go back to the superpowers. only when all our perceptions and skillsare strengthened and magnified can we better helpfree the afflicted from suffering. such powers are acquiredby compassion and vigorous cultivation. start with good intentions and compassion.then cultivate vigorously. if your vigorous cultivation is not guidedby a good approach, it won’t work. we chinese all know thatmore than 10 years ago, a famous chinese coach, junren ma,trained long-distance runners.
asians in general are notas physically strong as westerners. we have to admit that westernershave a bigger build and longer legs. since they have superior strengthand stamina and can take larger steps, it is hard to beat themin long-distance running. but westerners cannot outrun africans. africans are born with longer legs,and superior endurance and jumping ability. surprisingly, this chinese helpedhis team win championship titles. there wasn’t just one world championbut many achieving terrific results. this success was due to the coach’seffective training methods.
he had a comprehensive approachintegrating diet, mental focus and timing, etc. this approach allows his teamto achieve the results that were thought impossiblefor chinese athletes. be it for running, learning skills or practice, a truly effective method playsan important role in one’s success. if you don’t adopt a correct method, neither can you gain enlightenment nor reaphealth benefits; you may even be harmed. so the practice method is extremelyimportant: we cultivate great compassion, adopt an effective methodand use our own endurance.
you should make sure to fully understandthe method and practice accordingly. this approach will lead usto gain skills and wisdom, and other inconceivable powers.it’ll also increase our energy. our improved skills stem from our increased energy. we must understand this concept. the buddha is a completely perfect life.such perfection stems from compassion. so we need to practice earnestly. to reach the highest state, we must have compassion; it’s very important. someone may say, "master, the compassion you’re talking about is an important path leading true buddhists to the highest state,
but i just come to eliminate my headaches and back pain and improve my health. what you said is of little relevance to me. it’s as useless as ‘playing a harp to a cow. ‘" even if you were a cow, after listening to my music, you’d be happier and healthier. imagine the benefits to humans. your illness stems from your ignorance. the buddha says bad karma stems from ignorance, reduces merit, and results in illnesses. many ailments arise from your mind and lack of wisdom.
your lack of wisdom and wrongdoings come from lack of compassion. over half of your illnesses are related to your lying, cheating and anger, etc. many other illnesses are caused bylack of virtues and compassion. the mentioned reasons, as well as greed, caused at least half of your illness. when you’re sick, wake up to be compassionate, open up your heart, love all beings and those around you, and be grateful to them for their kindness. someone may say, "i’ve heard you and others talk about gratitude, "but when i think of my mother-in-law, no gratitude but hatred arises. you’ll be a mother-in-law too one day."
if your daughter-in-law hates you, it’ll be disastrous. you’ll live a hellish life generation after generation. though you’ll live in the human world, you’ll feel as miserable as if you were in hell. you may not believe hell exists,but half of the time, your life is hellish. you contract illnesses due to lack of compassion, right? a particular woman’s story highlights this point. her mother-in-law fell ill. they didn’t live in the same city. since no one was around to look after her, the son really wanted his wife to take care of his mother.
instead, she told her mother-in-law, "mom, sorry to hear you are ill, but i broke my leg and i’m in great pain. sorry i’m unable to take care of you." she lied. two months later, she felland broke her kneecap. she was bedridden. what caused her ailment? compassion? her ingratitude. some women even say thoughtlessly, "i married her son, not her." what if your husband treats your mother badly? would you be indifferent? there are many such examples. selfishness means lack of compassion, as does jealousy and cheating. if you think people around you are bad, you don’t have compassion either.
you don’t appreciate the kindness of others. they may sometimes do wrong, but they’ve done more good than harm to you. you neglect the good side, only seeing the bad side, or the things causing your misery or discomfort. you’ve missed their goodness. some of my disciples act in a similar way. you never remember my praise but my mild criticism forever. there’s nothing i can do about it. your narrow-mindedness hinders you from gaining compassion and makes enlightenment impossible. your illness won’t go away but get worse.
so open up your mind. if you can truly, compassionately love the world, your mother-in-law, yourself and those related to you, and remind yourself of their merit, you’ll feel warm in your heart. from that instant on, the area around your heart starts to warm up with energy. once your positive energy starts increasing, your negative one will automatically decrease. that’s for sure. when light comes, darkness retreats. your health will improve or you’ll recover completely. the problem of illness is worthy of our attention.
your illness, regardless of its causes, is not only painful but also hereditary. research conducted by many scientists and me reveals that most human illnesses are hereditary. for example, your mother has heart disease. when it’s passed to you, it may develop into rheumatic heart disease. in the next generation, a heart transplant may be needed. hereditary diseases will get worse in future generations. since our illnesses keep developing and our karma, which is our bad deeds, keeps increasing, illness becomes worse.
say you get irritated today and again tomorrow. in a year, you’ll likely get cancer and eventually die of the accumulated anger. actually, accumulated anger leads to energy blockages in the liver, spleen, heart or other parts of the body. when anger is accumulated to a certain extent, a tumor may develop. benign tumors seems ok, but malignant ones, like ghosts, run rampant. doctors can’t do anything about it.it moves about in your body. today, a tumor is surgically removed, but it’s hard to remove the root like a yam. you might think it’s been totally removed, but in fact,
many cancerous cells remain invisible to doctors, even under a microscope. how can doctors remove all? what doctors can remove is just the "yam," not the root. he can only remove the visible part but not the invisible. a tiny bacterium invisible to naked eyes may grow very big next year, like a demon. so, if we want to remove illness and be healthy, we should start cultivating compassion. removing the illness at the root is the essential way. whether you want to achieve health,or enlightenment and perfection, compassion is of utmost importance.
the buddha came to free sentient beings from suffering. putting aside the attainment of happiness, freedom from suffering is the first goal, the focus of all his teachings. it’s just like a hospital is built to treat diseases. all its departments and their work intend to serve this purpose. likewise, the buddha treats the fundamental diseases ranging from mental and physiological illnesses to afflictions of all kinds. so his teachings are to heal and help us at the root. but our karma is too heavy and we are covered with layers of pollution.
someone may say, "master, i see what you mean, but i just don’t believe it." then i can do nothing about it. other people are gold-coated, but you are garbage-coated with repeated layers of sugar, garbage and tar. even a missile can’t pierce the layers. then, what’s the consequence? my words may sound unpleasant, but your suffering will remain with you. the buddha is compassionate. he told you his method of eliminating suffering. believe it or not, it’s up to you. so now i’ve told you this. take it or leave it. it’s up to you.
how much you believe is your call. it all depends on your blessings. someone may say, "i don’t believe you, but i’m still rich." wealth may not last long and doesn’t necessarily bring happiness. it’s not uncommon for rich peopleto encounter fatal disasters or end up with broken families. many rich people have children worse than gangsters. isn’t that right? maybe you’re happy when you’re poor,full of hope and energy. but after you become rich, your home doesn’t feel like a home; love vanishes and neither mother nor children behave themselves.
do you have such a feeling? some do. those without much money don’t. the more money you possess, the less true love you have. this doesn’t mean that true love is a certainty if we’re penniless. without money, you may not have true love either. starvation deprives people of their true feelings. so wealth does not equal happiness. the key is the wisdom to see through everything. what i appreciate most is the highest state of buddhist practitioners: your happiness comes from your ability to see through everything. today without money, i’m not bothered; but if i’m very happy every day,
i must have lost my mind. something is wrong. without money, i’m not disturbed. please remember my wording. if i had money, i wouldn’t spoil myself. i wouldn’t think: i’m finally rich, so i can talk loudly wherever i go. i’d walk with my hands at my back in the middle of the road. that’s dangerous. so we should act once we understand. the worst is when one has heardall teachings, read all books, but doesn’t apply the wisdom to his behavior. it’s like practicing a kung fu skill: say you’ve learned many unique skills,
even followed the instructions in practice; yet, in a real fight, you forget everything. your essential spiritual state and your action are still separate. to be healthy, to alleviate illnesses, start from compassion. this is the fundamental way of healing. so when we learn the buddha’s teachings, what’s important is understanding this truth and acting accordingly. for example, do not kill. someone may say, "i’ll stop killing after becoming enlightened." actually, understanding is enlightenment.you’ll stop killing by knowing this truth.
since you know cursing hurts, you stop cursing. if you say, "i’ll stop when i attain perfection," you’ll never achieve it. isn’t that right? it’s simple logic. someone may say, "if you convince me, i’ll stop doing wrong." ok. what do those who often beat up people get in return? beat up. those often calling people names? being called names or even beat up. why might a situation become worse? for example, two young practitioners in our vancouver center had a fight. i said, "come over here. why were you fighting?" one got a bleeding nose.
the boy who’d hit him said, "master, i hit him." "you’re quite brave to admit your wrongdoing." "it wasn’t my fault." "not your fault? but you hit him." "he called me names." the boy with the bleeding nose said, "it was just gentle name-calling." "how can it be gentle? how did you do it gently?" he said, "i told him even a mouse looks better than you." i said, "luckily, he’s a boy. if he were a girl, she’d have burnt you to death!" this boy didn’t care about his looks. many girls don’t accept reality. if a girl isn’t pretty and you point it out, she’ll kill you.
the boy said, "but he shouldn’t have hit me." "how many times did he hit you?" he said, "only once." i said,"if i were him, i’d have beat you 10 times. just take it. don’t say others are ugly anymore." even gentle name-calling is not permitted. so, calling people names will result in being called names or even severe revenge. what if you kill? be killed. or your rival may have survived. since he wasn’t killed, he may kill you and your loved ones. when we grasp the simple causality, will we keep cursing?
if you want your ancestors to be cursed, go ahead! if you don’t want to be cursed, don’t curse. how can we build good relationships with others? help and praise them. the praising must be sincere, not sarcastic. we must praise them, but not mock them. praise sincerely. of course, it isn’t right to flatter whomever you meet. you should praise out of compassion. what about hatred? if we hate, what do we get in return? well, we first need to consider what we might do if we hate a person.
any ideas? first, we may curse him, right? second, we may beat him; third, we may gossip about him; fourth, we may even harm him. everything negative will be directed toward him. hatred can lead to the worst thing of all: killing. when i was a kid, i always had a vengeful heart due to the environment i grew up in. high-level teaching was unavailable to me. all my parents’ hatred was passed on to me. my mother was always bullied for no reason. our family was poor and ill-treated. anybody could belittle and curse my mom.
immoral people would bully her cruelly. so, hatred arose in her heart and was passed on to me. i hated too. my parents were of ordinary character and upbringing, so i was despised. with my hatred and theirs combined, we were all in the same boat. we all harbored hatred in our hearts. so, i sided with my mother. mom said, "that guy bullied us.you must not let us down." i thought, "when my kung fu is betterand my sword sharper, i’ll kill him." when i was a teenager, i encountered the person who my mom said bullied her. upon seeing him, i chased him. "you bullied my family!
see how i get even!" recalling that now, i feel embarrassed and ashamed. why was i so vengeful and hateful? what was the outcome? if he’d been stronger than me that day, i would have been killed. he was not as strong as me, so i challenged him. similarly, my parents were not as strong as he, so he bullied them. when i grew up and he couldn’t match me physically, he was bullied by me. how did his family react? such mutual revenge escalates. also, it’s bad for health. is such behavior wise? no. if such behavior spreads to every family, what happens to peace in society?
it would crumble and one day, at midnight, someone would shout, "murder!" and then once that crime is dealt with, someone would scream, "our house is on fire!" then people run to put out the fire. could you live in peace? if you’re worried someone may set your house on fire or poison your family, you won’t be at ease. there wouldn’t be peace at all. could you sleep peacefully till dawn? no way. you’d sleep with a knife on one side and a hammer on the other. every door would be kept locked.
if the house were on fireyou wouldn’t be able to open the doors. if you live amidst extreme fear, you can neither relax nor sleep well. the children would dare not walk alone in the yard, on the street or in the park. one could easily fall ill in such a situation. what illness? phobia. not fear of heights, but general phobia. then comes depression, insomnia,stomach pain, kidney and heart disease. so we should put away our thoughts of revenge and harm. specifically, we should stop cursing. can you stop? (yes.) people on this side dare not respond!this side said "yes," and that side said "um."
ok, from now on, we shan’t curse verbally or mentally. can you do it? (yes.) that’s better. the folks at the back are more determined. i have heard it. the key is change, turning over a new leaf.so stop cursing. ok? (ok.) someone may say, "i’m not going to curse verbally. can i do it mentally?" that would be even worse. we shan’t curse mentally. the highest state involves having love for your enemies; it may be hard to accept. a person bullied my mother and as a result, my mother fell ill and was extremely upset. how can i love that person? i can’t unless his son is very handsome,or his daughter is very pretty, or he is very rich.
if he has none, and you still love him,what kind of person are you? superman. your wisdom is definitely limitless.your fortune is unrivalled. we know that beating people injures and kills them. beating people harms and kills them and their loved, causes utmost pain and hatred. to avoid suffering from such karma, from now on, we shan’t beat or hurt anyone. can you do that? (yes.) try harder. let me ask again. you’re so hungry that you can’t answer louder? perhaps some folks on this side are still thinking, "my grudge hasn’t gone yet."
if you get the truth, just act accordingly. act, and the grudge will disappear. it’s just like stirring dough. the more you stir, the smoother it becomes. ok, from now on, we shall not harm or beat people. can you do it? (yes.) excellent! though it sounds very noisy, those in the middle of this side gave a good answer. you must remember what you’ve promised today. who did you make this vow to? (the buddha and the master.) the buddha, bodhisattva and me. we have buddhas in the front and the back;we have bodhisattvas, vajrayana and our hall of ten thousand buddhas. so you’ve made a vow to masses of buddhas. it can’t be changed.
what else do we have to correct? let’s talk about speech-related wrongdoings. no cursing. hurt is often done by mouth. but many times, hurt is caused not necessarily by cursing but by your thoughts. for example, you want to cheat, stir up trouble, frame someone, belittle, tempt, distract people from following buddha by encouraging personal desires, etc. these wrongdoings come from our mouths and should be avoided. many people, with their mouths, have committed much negative karma. when these people get sick, they still claim, "master, i’ve never done anything immoral."
but you probably did it and said something unconsciously. you were unaware of it. lying in bed, you think about how good you are. are you truly a good person? you don’t look crafty; you look like a good soul, but you hurt others unconsciously with your words. when such wrongdoings accumulate, they hurt. please don’t hurt with words. if you do, karma will befall you and your descendants. believe it or not, it’s up to you. if you curse others, you’ll get cursed in return. this is not a religious concept, but a law of nature, right? actually, what buddha teaches is all about the laws of nature.
it is not something inconceivable; it’s all simple truth about life. if you often beat others, you’ll definitely be beaten too, or worse yet, be killed. a man said he’d never killed a person, but he had cheated someone. he’d cheated him of money, or perhaps of love. can emotional betrayal kill? (yes.) yes. many have committed suicide because they were betrayed by their loved ones. they couldn’t let it go and committed suicide.those are people who can’t let things go. those less-caring may kill their betrayers. you cheated a person of love; then he killed you. then came the trouble. if he wanted to kill only you, that’s easy to settle.
the trouble is he killed your most beloved ones, which caused you great pain. so, cheating, gossiping, stirring up trouble, defaming and insulting others,all arise from the mouth, from speech. such sins are as serious as murder; all are serious sins. the negative return from such sins is the same as that of murder. so, we must accumulate verbal merit. starting today, watch your speech. do not allow your speech to hurt anyone. can we do that? (yes.) good. you’ve made a promise in front of the buddha; you must keep the promise, never breaking it.
then you will become healthy and broad-minded, able to calmly, justly and boldly face anyone, including your enemies, and live with ease. in a particular painting or statue of bodhisattva, the bodhisattva sits there at ease and with auspiciousness. that image is known as the guanyin bodhisattva of great freedom. what’s the first sentence in the buddha’s heart sutra? when the bodhisattva freedom was in the deep perfection of wisdom, he perceived… he contemplated in the perfection of wisdom, totally at ease. you might be thinking, "i cheated someone yesterday, and now i’m at ease." no way.
while walking, you may worry you’ll be attacked from behind with a stick or a brick, or that your kids will be kidnapped, etc. you can never be at ease. what is being at ease? it’s not having any pressure, fear or worry. only then can you truly be at ease. to have achieved this, you’ve totally eliminated your desires of greed, desire to blame, and even let go of your feelings. only then can you be truly at ease;otherwise, you will never feel at ease. just like our body. a person said,"i just had minor surgery. only two stitches." as the incision heals, the muscles appearto have recovered, but is there tightness? yes.
could blockages in the affectedblood vessels occur one day? maybe. could infection occur in the area, thus causing other illnesses? possible. is it possible that the arm here can’t stretch naturally? yes. is it possible that this shoulder is not as strong as the other one? yes. even a minor mistake can result in a long-lasting worry. so to free oneself from pain and suffering, to obtain peace and health in body and mind, one has to do the very basic: be compassionate. from compassion roots shoot out many seedlings of "compassion and wisdom,"
which grow into flowers and bear fruit, and turn into gigantic trees. to be free from suffering,to attain a complete purification and freedom, be a compassionate person. this principle applies even if your wish is solely to heal diseases. someone said, "i didn’t do well at school." why are others good at school, but you’re not? it may be due to karma. perhaps a narrow-minded mother gave birth to a challenged child. there’s not much one can do about it. if you correct your wrongdoings, your mother’s are also taken care of.
you actually kill two birds with one stone. you receive inspiration from your practice. once you start it, you begin to receive positive energy. all your past wrongdoings, evil deeds, cheating, cursing, gossiping, stirring up trouble, will be pardoned if you start to repent. say, the punishment of running a red light may be 3 days of street-sweeping. physical labor or paying fines may be used to atone for the offense. your practice of repenting is actually the best way to eradicate your karma. so, from now on in practice and chanting, face all sentient beings with repentance.
with it, think about the people who are hostile towards you. for married women, perhaps your first enemy is your mother-in-law, or sister-in-law, or other family members. repent: "i shouldn’t have cursed you, though you’ve cursed me many times. "it’s wrong to have cursed you. i cursed and gossiped about you; i’ve done many bad things to you." you should be repentant, face the person you can’t forgive first. if you can let things go and forgive,you’ll be fully transformed. it is likely that you, sick and full of wounds,
will recover rapidly and become as pure as white jade. such a pure and worry-free person will be undisturbed and peaceful both in body and mind.our illnesses can be rapidly removed. if you are a true practitioner aspiring to attain buddhahood, in no time at all you will grow your golden lotus flower in paradise. we know gambling, any form of it, harms ourselves, our families, all the people we know, even strangers. when you run out of your family’s money and your relatives’ and friends’, you might begin to cheat other people of their money.
this is a very bad deed. so, from now on,we do nothing related to gambling. with plenty of time, some over 60-year-old gamble a bit to kill time. the money to win or lose is small, less than $10. is this gambling? (yes.) yes. even if you just win or lose 10 sunflower seeds, it is still gambling as opposed to innocent recreation. people who run casinos "pass off fish eyes for pearls" by saying that gambling is a type of recreation. we should keep away from gamblingand all gambling-related activities. can you all achieve this? (yes.)
people at the back on this side did not respond. i will ask once more. can you all refrain from gambling-activities? (yes.) ok, that’s better. you guys are probably tiredand don’t have the energy to speak loudly. moreover, we shouldn’t engage in any detrimental addictions. well, there is no problem if you’re addicted to practice. i mean drinking, smoking and using drugs. someone once asked me, "master, i have a habit. i’m not sure if it’s a detrimental addiction." i said, "what is it?" "i like drinking kerosene. i drink it each and every day."
if it’s your doctor’s prescription, you have a really unique constitution. nobody can do anything about it. i don’t think it counts as drug-taking. smoking, alcoholism, drug-taking such as heroin, morphine, ecstasy and crystal meth, and new drugs being developed shouldn’t be touched. i hope you and your family will quit all these activities. can you all do this? (yes.) great. it’s very important. i saw numerous cases of drug abuse overseas. there’s even a club for drug users. no one there walks like a normal person,but with their heads tilted and eyes glazed. their bodies are harmed by drug.their bones are as fragile as rotten wood.
if the person falls, his bones will likely break into pieces. his internal organs are all damaged; he’s trapped in an illusionary world. it’s frightening. drug dealers are now targeting high school students. they intend to tempt and trick them into drug taking. the problem has started to emerge in china seriously. don’t assume it only exists overseas. please discipline your kids. be observant and vigilant. most importantly, you must be careful about your own behavior. what’s the core reason why your kids take drugs? it’s because you parents smoke.
kids think: "if you parents can smoke, why can’t i take drugs?" they’re both harmful. excessive smoking leads to lung cancer.so, such things are prohibited. in taiwan and southeast asia, there is a type of non-toxic fruit. but over consuming it may produce cancer-causing substances. in taiwan, the philippines, malaysia and other southeast asian countries, many people love eating a fruit called betel nut. it’s unavailable in the north. they chew the processed fruit like chewing gum. when betel chewing people smile, they look like ghosts. their teeth are covered with a red substance, as if they’d drunk blood.
when they spit, it looks like vomiting blood. many drivers and manual workers eat them, and spit the kernels all over the street, forming red puddles of the stuff from the nut. in hospitals, notices read: "you are advised not to eat betel nuts. eating the nut may result in stomach, lung and mouth cancer." despite the warnings, people still eat it. why? addicted. if they don’t, they feel lousy daily. as lousy as shandong people’d feel if prohibited from eating noodles. eating noodles is harmless because however addicted, noodles don’t poison you. but the above-mentioned habit is toxic, very harmful to the body.
so, we shouldn’t engage in any action or habit having toxic side effects, be it eating certain foods or smoking,which are toxic behaviors. some people may ask, "is it ok if i inject heroin on my own?" that’s even worse. only drug addicts use injectable drugs. the drug is injected directly into the blood like infusion. it flows into it at once. you’ll become hyper in half a minute. your life is ruined. thus, drug or drug-related habits such as smoking, alcoholism, chewing betel nuts, must be eradicated. can everyone do this? (yes.) if you have family members with such habits,
you must find ways to eradicate their habits as soon as possible. please don’t say, "my husband just drinks two glasses of wine. no big deal." your children may drink two bottles daily. your behavior will influence your children. if parents go dancing once a week, children will dare to stay in disco clubs and not return home. children will imitate, acting in an intensified manner. the key is be a good role model. per buddhist teachings, the bodhisattva practice means not only doing good deeds ourselves but, most importantly, leading others to do them.
being role models for others is the bodhisattva practice. guiding others is key. as such, a bodhisattva is afraid of their bad intention producing bad karma. through acting like a bodhisattva, one becomes highly enlightened. a highly enlightened person contemplates his actions. he thinks: "after i do this, people will emulate me, what will the consequences be?" since you have an affinity for my teachings, you may become a bodhisattva as soon as you start. you should think aboutwhat your actions will lead to. we don’t take revenge; instead, we, with morality and gratitude in our heart,
face those we used to hate, or those cursing or blaming us. some people are too fragile-minded to endure ridicule. for example, you forget to add salt and others say it tastes not bad, but needs salt. you’re very mad about it, thinking, "you’d feel lucky if someone cooks for you. why are you so picky?" then you add a handful of salt to the dish. instantly, the dish becomes salty. "you’ll be salted to death!" you think. your guest won’t be salted to death, but after you die, you’ll surely meet the king of hell and his followers, pouring salt into your intestines.
those in hell will hate and curse youbecause of your behavior. you forgot to add salt or not enough. then someone points it out to you. it’s well-intentioned. you should thank them for their reminder. then with great care, put in the right amount. that’s the right thing to do. be grateful. from now on, no cursing, no gambling, no abuse of alcohol, no drugs. we not only do good deeds, but lead others to do them. this is the bodhisattva path. when i was in taiwan about 2 years ago,i wanted to visit a certain place. since i was not familiar with the route, i knocked at the doorof a taxi parked on the side of the road.
i waved at the driver, "may i get in?" he was old and seemed in his seventies. his car didn’t smell good. he’d been taking an afternoon nap. "where to?" he asked. i said my destination.then our conversation started. "where do you come from?" "mainland china." "from mainland china? why are you so extravagant?" i said, "would you mind telling me why you ask?" he replied i could takethe subway to get there. "taking taxi costs more than 100 taiwan dollars." it is about 20 rmb. "if you took the subway, it’d cost you only 5 rmb. you’d save money."
but i really didn’t know the route. so i said, "thanks a lot, sir, maybe i should get off now." "there’s no way you could take the subway even if i dropped you off?!" what a temper! "i’m really sorry. next time, i won’t take your taxi." "why? you don’t like me?" "no. i’ll still take your taxi next time." you may think such a well-known master wouldn’t act so humbly before a taxi driver. well, i humbly accept every elders’ lecture. i wouldn’t say, "who do you think you are, my dad or grandpa?" i won’t have such a mindset at all.instead, i think his lecture makes sense. i said, "sorry. next time, i’ll know the route."he thought i was pretty obedient.
so he drove away and chatted with me while driving; soon after, he got lost. he was too focused on lecturing me. he said, "young man, you are a personwith great potential." he was quite accurate. he had some knowledge of physiognomyor perhaps a strong intuition. "your facial features show that you are not a bad person." while driving, he read my face in the rear view mirror. "you’re pretty good at martial arts, right?""not at all. i always get beat up." it was possible that i was chatting with a martial arts master. the older, the sharper. i said, "i’m not that great."
i thought: "he’s pretty good at face reading." "what’s your animal sign? you were born in the year of the dragon," he said. "wow, you know this! ""yes. in my mirror, i saw a dragon flying swiftly through the air. "so you were born in the dragon year. let me check the color: it’s yellow." "you’re from a far northern place.""you’re right. i’m from a northeastern area." to be honest, i’m a bit ambiguous, but i didn’t mean to disrespect him. i said northeastern to test his accuarcy. "oh, no, you’re probably not from a northeastern part of china."
wow. he’s really good at face reading! "sir, please drive carefully. safety comes first. if you too focus on reading me in the mirror, you can’t on driving. you read my face well, but if we have a car accident, the fortune-telling will be in vain." "don’t worry. i am an old hand. look at the building on this side." "what about it?" "an old friend of mine owns it. "look at me, ended up being a taxi driver. "all my belongings were given by this friend. "i was very successful with lots of money at one time.
do you know his name and age of that building owner?" i said, "no, i don’t." "he is 72, and owns several buildings." the driver was rich when he was young. i said, "sir, is it your choice to be a recluse and drive a taxi?" "nonsense. my present circumstances are due to my lack of moral integrity. "one must have moral virtue. "in the old days, no one my age was richer than me. "but i committed every bad deed. "i led a dissipated life: dining, drinking, whoring and gambling.
"i didn’t treasure blessings. i know i created my own destiny. "i used to have a good fate. i ruined it. i used up all my blessings. my wife died early, at the age of 50." one after another, his children refusedto have a relationship with him. why did they do that? because he went dining, drinking, whoring and gambling. some of his children were good;they attended university, got married, left home and never showed up again because he didn’t behave like a father. others went astray as gangsters or behind bars.
their situations were even worse than their father’s. they showed no respect to their eldersbecause nobody had taught them to do so. having lost his fortune and being old and homeless, he couldn’t afford a rental home. some of his rich friends saw he truly repented finally. they really couldn’t bear seeing him in that state anymore. they gathered some money and bought him a used taxi which he lives in. he was born spiritually sharp. he kept talking during the trip, telling me certain gods were protecting me.
"i’m new to taiwan. will the gods here be nice to me?" "yes, they’ll protect you.now you should visit who and where." i’ve got to keep those a secret. he suggested i go to certain places and told me which gods to visit. "thank you, really thank you", i said. "may i have your phone number?""i don’t have a phone," he replied. "i can’t afford one." i wanted to write down his license plate no. he said, "no need. if a bond between us exists, we’ll surely meet again. otherwise, forget it." i pondered: the man must be a bodhisattva manifesting. he arranged for that old guy
to give me a lecture. he also shared his life story with me. we must treasure blessings and whatever we have. what is a blessing? someone may say, "but i’m not rich." you’re able to think and reason. you’re alive and that’s a blessing. being able to work is a blessing. you say, "i work every day." being able to work is a blessing. if you’re unable to work, it is also a "blessing." though such a "blessing" brings you some inconvenience.
if you have to defecate in bed, that isa "blessing," but the smell is not that great. at that moment, you’ll want to attend to others and work, which is real blessings. so regardless of your health conditions, if you’re still able to work and look after yourself and others, that’s called a real blessing. if you can cook at home, go out to help others: the aged, the weak, the sick and the disabled, help them buy groceries and wash up, you are blessed. if you’re bedridden, you’ll be much less blessed. so, what is a blessing? you know you’re still alive as usual. that’s a blessing. it has nothing to do with your financial situation.
blessed or not, you have to learn to make your own interpretation about blessings. otherwise, even if you live like royalty you’ll feel so miserable that you’ll want to commit suicide. what is a blessing? if you’re able to think, to reason, to be alive, and to do things, that’s a blessing. in the world, there’re a few types of suicidal people. first is the romantically heartbroken. then those who’ve lost much money. the third is those who havemore money than they can spend. many of you may think, "that’s ridiculous. master, are you sure?
why would someone so rich commit suicide?" if you had that much money,you might commit suicide too. it’s all because of boredom. when people can get whatever they want, they get bored. when you haven’t got what you want, you feel life is more exciting. being rich doesn’t necessarily meanthat you can lead a quality life, but, if you’re rich and influential, you can indeed be content and grateful, not proud, arrogant, carousing, and extravagant. then you can live with ease. being wealthy and worry-free is the best giftand lifestyle buddhism gives humanity.
it intends to raise you to this state. you’re rich, not short of money; you’re also worry-free. this is the highest state. so, once you reach this state, spiritually rather than monetarily, you and this state become one. this spiritual state is at your disposal. say you have $100,000 today and $ 1 million tomorrow, and you treasure both blessings. but with $100 million, you’re at a loss. you can’t use it up, so you can buy whatever. a disciple came to me and said, "master, recently i got angry again." hearing it, i knew fun stuff came. "angry again? what did you buy?"
"a vehicle-load of quilts." "wow, a bikeload or a carload?" "a truckload. master, give the quilts to the practitioners needing them." "normally, they don’t need quilts. you can send them to disaster-stricken areas. i hope you’re angry daily and thenyour money will be used up quickly." he asked me, "master, can you tell me what i should do if i get angry again?" i said, "buy a truckload of diamonds. then you won’t get angry anymore." if you’re content and grateful, cherish blessings and being rich, don’t overindulge in sensual pleasures, you’ll be truly rich and be able to manipulate your wealth.
only when the "god of riches" is manipulated can you be worry-free. i’m not sure if you can understand this spiritual state. i hope you can. only then can you avoid being controlled by your wealth. please remember that everything is a double-edged sword. some wealthy people have the most extravagant lifestyles possible. then what? take drugs. they still feel bored anyway. they’ve tried every delicacy, can afford the best house, the best car and any kind of jewellery. so boredom sets in. how to overcome the boredom?
in the past, in hong kong, singapore and taiwan, some weird incidents occurred. a few rich people gathered together and decided to take drugs to kill time. they felt a new sensation they’d never had before. right. they were ruined. one of the benefits of using drugs is you can use up your wealth. you’re controlled by riches. the "god of riches" becomes satan. despite your riches, do not indulge in sensual pleasures; donate to charity and do good deeds; be humble. never think, "i’m rich, i paid for this temple and the master’s clothes, so when the master sees me, he should bow to me."
we shouldn’t be arrogant.instead, we should be humble. i met a humble person; he was simply dressed. this old guy’s clothes were years-old and rather dirty. the clothes hadn’t been washed in a while and it was summer. sitting there, he smelled of sweat. other guys were discussing where to eat good meals and do other extravagant stuff. while listening to them, he felt bored,so he moved away to do meditation. our buddha hall has lamp-lighting service. some wealthy people competewith each other like this:
"which lamp is bigger? how much does this one cost?" "this one costs $100,000.""okay, i want this one." one man told our abbot to put his name at the top of the list. our abbot did as instructed. "ok, i’ll write your name there." my instruction to the abbot is this: "you just write whatever they request." it’s that person’s state. if we don’t write as instructed, we kind of disrespect the person. after all, he vowed to offer light. later, when we really needed money to build the medicine buddha hall,
and finally purchased property, we needed a huge amount of money. that old guy came along. he couldn’t find me, so he turned to our abbot. "master, i heard we’re to purchase this building." "yes, a deal has been made. but we’re worried about where to get the fund.our master is fundraising everywhere." "how much are we short of?" "$4 million." "i’ll bring $2 million in a week. ok?" our abbot was dumbfounded. "uh…let me think about it. i’ll confirm with you tomorrow." at midnight, he called. "master, do you know so-and-so?" "yes, i do." "is he crazy? he promised $2 million for medicine buddha hall." "he’s normal. i know him. he can do it."
"i didn’t know he was so rich. he even eats kids’ leftovers; he did all the bathroom cleaning at our center. i had no idea he was so wealthy." our abbot was crying as he told me. he was so excited. that wealthy man just wanted to return the buddha’s kindness. so you can’t tell he’s rich. when one is very rich and has reached that spiritual state, he no longer indulges in sensual pleasures. he knows that money is a double-edged sword. if that old taxi driverin taiwan had behaved himself,
he’d have now owned at least 10 buildings. how much would they be worth? about 1 billion us dollars. but he spent it all, was deeply in debt, and was hunted down. in his seventies, he ended up homeless. he looked to heaven and heaved a deep sigh, but it was too late. he was homeless, jobless with debts.his life was miserable, wasn’t it? he saw my obedience and i was paying close attention to his chatter. he said, "do you know how long it’s been since i had a shower?" in such a hot weather in taiwan, if he hadn’t had a shower in half a day,
the taxi would smell of stinking sweat. that was the case, only i didn’t mind. a younger person would have gotten out right away. the taxi driver said, "i haven’t showered in seven days. this car is my home." that was his situation. actually, many people are even worse than him. every coin has two sides. so we should possess the most important blessings: wisdom, compassion and enlightenment.
what we should leave behind for our children and descendants is our wisdom, compassion and good deeds. these things are true wealth. wealth includes money, but leaving behind only money is leaving behind disasters. if you leave behind your compassionate, moral behavior, and the foundation of compassion,which is merit to your children, you’ll accumulate merit and your compassionate behavior will influence your children.this is a good deed with multiple benefits. that’s why the buddha tells us to do good deeds. only by doing so can we achieve perfection.
the best example is the buddha: peaceful, wise, solemn, worry-free, broad-minded and with boundless wisdom. not only do people like to stay close to him, but small animals also want to share his buddha light. deities come to protect and bless him and share his light. how can you achieve this? if you understand my teachings, start acting accordingly, try to learn, and you’ll gradually achieve it. being enlightened isn’t like a bomb explosion;you can’t become enlightened suddenly.
it doesn’t work that way. if we understand this point gradually,we’ll become enlightened bit by bit. when bits of enlightenment build up,supreme enlightenment will be achieved. merit is accumulated likewise. if you do only good deeds,all your behavior will become good. from now on, stop cursing anyone, including your children. you can’t even curse your dog. how can you curse your children? they may not dare to curse you back, but they’ll hate you. they become less attached to you.
many parents are nice to their children,but don’t know how to talk to them. "you take too long to get dressed. "you eat too slowly. you haven’t finished your homework. are you stupid? i’d commit suicide if my marks were that bad." avoid using these words. you don’t want your children to die early, right? then, why scold them in this way? scolding is a form of cursing. so, his illness is caused by your curses. got it? thus, never curse your children. in particular, never saying things like,"i’d rather you were killed in a car accident." it’s ok if a deity doesn’t hear. if he does, your curse will come true. it will be a disaster.
right? if your child is wrongly put to death, it’ll be a big trouble. don’t curse others, don’t curse your family members. many chinese mothers curse their kids out of habit, thinking they deserve it, but it isn’t right. instead, you’d praise and remind him of his misbehavior and the right way. even to a 1-year-old kid you should talk seriously. don’t assume he doesn’t understand anything. he does. experiment: put your child in your good friend’s for a couple of days, you’ll see your child is very sensible. right?
even a newborn understands an adult’s expression. he knows. let alone a toddler, or a child who has learned to speak. they understand everything. thus, to your children, family members and colleagues, show your compassion, love and respect. think of yourself as a bodhisattva, not cursing and doing bad deeds, not cheating and stirring up trouble; having no greed. you should think like this. don’t let secular views hinder your self-cultivation. for example, you want to practice for an hour or two at night, but your spouse complains you don’t behave like a spouse
and wants you to treat him/her in a particular way; otherwise, you two are not a family. that’s actually a misconception of ordinary people. you should tell your spouse what a truly good relationship is. living together healthfully, peacefully, and lovingly, for the long-term, is ideal. some wrong social views may mislead you, causing you to do deeds you shouldn’t do. that’ll bring negative effects for sure. so we should learn to adhere to the right beliefs and behaviors. no-less-than-1-hour daily practice is a must for you, regardless of its form.
the standard duration is 2 hours. it’s ideal to practice in some sleep time of yours. try your best to achieve what you just promised to do. then, in no time, afflictions and miseries are eliminated, health recovered and enlightenment attained. practicing buddhadharma isn’t that hard. you may ask, "i’ve been practicing for 50 years. am i doing ok?" you shouldn’t think that way. when you’re truly enlightened, you won’t even ask, but know how you’re doing.
so, your approach is wrong; you haven’t opened up your heart. your 50-year practice isn’t in vain, but the power you gained in 50 years equalswhat one can get in a year. that’s no good. it is easy to be enlightened. if you immediately act after listening to my teaching, you’re awakened. the buddha’s achievement is supreme enlightenment, the perfect completion. we have to build up bit by bit before we achieve it. if you understand and get started now, you’re awakened. i hope you’ll gain some of buddha’s true teachings.
i hope my sincere communication with you today will truly benefit you. thank you. being able to be content, grateful and treasure blessings is true wealth. having compassion, being respectful and taking action now is awakening.