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Chapter 1



Also seen are the Buddha’s disciples
abiding in the strength of patience;
though by those of overweening pride
maliciously rebuked and beaten,
they are able to endure it all,
seeking for the Buddha Way.


J4. patience


This section of the verse deals with the cultivation of the perfection of patience. Maitreya Bodhisattva again says to Manjushri Bodhisattva also seen are the Buddha’s disciples. True disciples of the Buddha, abiding in the strength of patience. They cultivate the perfection of patience. Patience requires no thought. Arriving at the level of no thought is just patience with production, patience with dharmas, and also the patience with the non-production of dharmas. These Bodhisattvas exclusively cultivate the practice of patience.

Though by those of overweening pride. What does patience cure? It counteracts hatred. If, in any situation you encounter, you are able to endure it without getting angry, that’s patience.

Cultivation is something you must do yourself. It is not a matter of instructing others to cultivate. Some asked me, “If someone is cultivating patience, it is all right if I test him? Can I try his patience?” You shouldn’t. Don’t test other people; test yourself. “No matter what happens, can I bear it? Can I remain unmoved? Do my thoughts remain unmoved? Whether in accord or in opposition, do I remain at peace, just as if nothing had happened? Can I refrain from getting the least bit perturbed?”

Take care not to test other people. Cultivators of the Way should test themselves, not others. If you test others, you’ll get way off the track. For example if you wanted to go to New York and went directly, you could get there by train, bus or in a car in just a few days. If you didn’t go directly, but first took off to the south or north, took a lot of different roads, you’d waste a lot of time. The meaning here is if you don’t test others but cultivate directly, you can realize Buddhahood very quickly. But if you test others you’ll neglect and waste your own skill. You may have been destined for Buddhahood, say, in three great asankheya kalpas, but if you start testing people, it might take you nine! You forget your own skill in testing others.

When can you test others? When you have reached the level where you have spiritual penetrations and can actually manifest the eighteen transformations in empty space, putting forth water from the top of your body and fire from the lower part or emitting fire from the top of your body and water from the lower part. When fire and water do not obstruct each other, when you have arrived at that state, then you may test others. Until then, I would recommend that you refrain.

So the text says, “though by those of overweening pride” what are such people like? They are arrogant. They look down on everyone they see. They feel that they themselves are Number One. “I am number one in intelligence and number one in wisdom and in learning. I am number one in everything!” They don’t mention that they are number one in stupidity. They don’t feel that they are number one in stupidity, when in fact they are. People of overweening pride are arrogant, you see, and only stupid people are arrogant. Unless one was stupid, one would not be arrogant and look down on others.

Why? Take a look at Shakyamuni Buddha. Is he stupid or wise? Obviously, he is wise. He is the Greatly Enlightened One. He sees that all living beings can become Buddhas. He sees all living beings as his parents from former lives and as the Buddhas of the future. Therefore, he does not dare to slight living beings. Now Shakyamuni Buddha is the Greatly Wise, Greatly Enlightened One, and he is not arrogant. We petty little common people--what do we have to be arrogant about? What do we have to be self-satisfied about? Arrogant people of overweening pride are really number one in stupidity, because they are arrogant towards everyone.

Maliciously rebuked and beaten. In cultivating patience, if someone scolds you, you must bear it. If someone beats you, you must bear it. Why? They are able to endure it all. How can they endure the abuse of others? How can they bear the beatings? Seeking for the Buddha Way. It is because they seek the Buddha Way. If you wish to seek the Buddha Way, you can’t have a temper, you can’t get angry. You must cultivate patience.


Again are Bodhisattvas seen,
apart from all frivolity,
and from stupid followers,drawing near to those with wisdom.
Singlemindedly casting out confusion,
collecting their thoughts in the mountain forests,
for tens of thousands of millions of years
in quest of them Way of the Buddha.


J5. dhyana Samadhi


Again are Bodhisattvas seen, apart from all frivolity. I’ve explained the word “all” many times. You can explain it as meaning “a lot,” that is, removing oneself from all, every bit of, frivolity. You can also explain it as “one” that is, from every single type of frivolity. Frivolity means playing around and laughing. Bodhisattvas who cultivate the Way must not laugh all the time. They also should not play all the time. In everything they do they must be upright and proper. This is not to say that you may never laugh. But laugh when it is appropriate. When it is not, don’t laugh.

To be apart from all frivolity is to have removed one of the Five Coverings. The Five Coverings cover the self-nature. To separate from all frivolity is to remove the coverings of inconstancy. When an inconstant person undertakes something, he does it in a haphazard manner, with nothing definite about it. He thinks of doing it one way, and then does it another way. Then he changes his mind back again. He can’t make a firm decision and he keeps changing his mind back and forth.

Cultivators of the Way can’t do as they please and laugh when they feel like it. When it’s time to laugh, laugh. At other times, don’t. You can’t just “Ha, ha, ha!” all day long.

And from stupid followers. Who are the stupidest people? They are those who don’t study the Buddhadharma. Because they do not study it, they get stupider every day. When their stupidity reaches the extreme, they run off to become animals. Therefore, you should leave stupid followers. This sentence of verse implies the removing of the covering of anger. Anger means hatred. Hatred covers your self-nature. If you have no real wisdom, you are covered by inconstancy, as mentioned above. When you separate from stupid followers, you get rid of the covering of anger.

Why do people get angry? Where does anger come from? It comes from ignorance. What is ignorance? Ignorance is just stupidity. So you don’t understand? If that’s not stupidity, what is it? By separating from stupid followers one removes the covering of rage. Why do you hate? Why do you lose your temper? It’s because you are just plain stupid. So remember this. No matter how intelligent people are, once they get angry, their intelligence vanishes, covered by their anger. They can’t do anything. Nothing works out; everything goes wrong. Separating from stupid followers removes the covering of anger.

Drawing near to those with wisdom. Having left stupid followers, they draw near to those who have wisdom. This removes the covering of stupidity. If you draw near to those who have wisdom, you will gradually lose your stupidity. Why?

Those who get near the rouge turn read; those who get near the ink turn black. Those with wisdom like to draw near to those with wisdom. Those without wisdom, if they draw near to the wise, will come to have wisdom. So, you should draw near to those with wisdom, those with learning, those with Way virtue, those with intelligence. If you draw near to those with wisdom, you won’t do stupid things. Take a look at those who are wise. They don’t get angry all day long. If you get near them, you may wish to lose your temper, but you won’t find any occasion to lose it. You may be just on the verge of getting angry, but then you think, “That person doesn’t get angry. I won’t either.” There’s a common saying:

The good flock together;
The evil run in packs.
People seek out their own kind.

Now in the Buddhist Lecture Hall, everyone wishes to study the Buddhadharma. This is drawing near to those with wisdom. In America there are very few places where the genuine Buddhadharma is lectured. Take a look. What other Buddhist organization has lectures on the Dharma every single day? Only the Buddhist Lecture Hall. Attending the daily lectures on Buddhadharma is just drawing near to those with wisdom.

Not just anyone can come to the Buddhist Lecture Hall. Some people come, sit for just a minute, and then run off. They can’t sit comfortably, and they can’t stand comfortably. The moment they get here, their hearts start racing, and they get nervous. Why? Because their karmic obstacles are too heavy.

To draw near to those with wisdom is to remove the covering of stupidity.

Singlemindedly casting out confusion. This removes the covering of greed. Why? If you have no greed, your mind will not become confused. If you have thoughts of greed, your mind will become confused, unclear. When your mind is unclear, you will do muddled things.

Greed: Greed for what?

First of all, there is greed for wealth. At this point, we should each return the light and reverse the illumination. What is meant by “return the light and reverse the illumination?” Each of you ask yourselves: “Do I have thoughts of greed? Am I covered with greed? Am I greedy for other people’s money? Because of greed for money, would I lie? Would I kill? Would I steal? Would I do things I clearly know are wrong simply out of greed? Am I greedy for money even in my dreams? “So and so has a lot of money. How can I get my hands on it?” Obsesses!

You recite the Buddha’s name sincerely, but your greed for money is even more sincere. You recite the Buddha’s name in the morning a few times, and then forget all about it. “I’ve done quite enough recitation. Nobody’s as good as me. No one can compare to me. Nobody recites the Buddha’s name as much as I do.” But what about your avarice? You never forget it, never. “No matter what, I’m going to get my hands on that person’s money.” You exert all your influence, and exhaust your shrewd intellect to cheat other people out of their money.

As you scheme for money, your heart grows confused. Your brains reel with scrambled thoughts, “What, oh, what method can I use…Will that one work? No? Well, then, what about this one? That one? I’ve got to have a plan. They’ll never know what happened.” All their schemes and plans confuse them.

To cast out confusion is to cast off the covering of greed. Greed covers your basic wisdom, your self-nature’s bright light. If you can get rid of your greed, remove the covering of greed, your self-nature’s bright light will manifest.

Collecting their thoughts in the mountain forests. “Thoughts” refers to the thoughts present in our minds. People have great spiritual penetrations when it comes to thought. In one thought they can run as far as eighteen thousand miles. Shakyamuni Buddha emitted the white hair-mark light which shone across eighteen thousand worlds to the east. In a single thought we can think ourselves eighteen thousand worlds to the east.

However, there’s a great deal of difference between our thoughts and the Buddha’s light. The Buddha can emit light that reaches that far, but we can only day-dream; we can’t send forth light. But our thoughts do have that much strength.

In one thought, we’re in heaven.
In one thought, we’re in hell.
In one thought, we are among the human beings.

It all happens in a thought. The heavens and the hells are created in a thought. Even the realization of Buddhahood is accomplished in a single thought. If you become a Bodhisattva, it’s also in a thought. If you become an Arhat, it’s also in a thought. When the thought matures, you can actualize your spiritual penetrations and transformations.

Now, the thoughts are collected. They are not allowed to roam. They are all gathered back to the original self-nature. It’s like using a magnet on your thoughts, so that they can’t run off.

This method is one of using poison to fight poison. When people take poison, another kind of poison may be used to counteract the poison they have taken. Your “collecting of thoughts” is also a kind of poison. The very best thing would be, as I said earlier, to have no thought at all. If you have no thought, you have no production, no extinction. No thought is the most wonderful of states. If you can be without thought as you dwell there in the mountains and forests, your inherent, greatly enlightened Buddha nature will naturally be perfected and will naturally manifest. But now, one is unable to be without thought, and so the thoughts are gathered together. This collecting together also removes the covering of sleep.

Keeping away from frivolity removes the covering of inconstancy. Separating from stupid followers removes the covering of anger. Drawing near to those with wisdom removes the covering of stupidity. Singlemindedly casting out confusion removes the covering of greed. Collecting one’s thoughts in the mountain forests removes the covering of the sleep demon.

When you cultivate, the sleep demon can be very fierce. If you tend to be lazy, the sleep demon loves to encourage you. He says, “It’s all right. Rest a bit. Sleep some more,” and he tells you to sleep. And you think, “Sleep is not bad. Sleep is really fine. There’s nothing better than sleep! Why, it’s the most comfortable state there is because you don’t know anything at all, so you don’t have false thinking, either!”

But when you sleep, you sometimes dream, you may dream a very common dream which causes you not to cultivate. What dream is that? Hah! Very strange. When men who cultivate the Way sleep, they very often dream about women. When women who cultivate the Way sleep, they very often dream about men. Why? Because, although you say, “I keep the precepts. I cultivate. I don’t want to break the precepts,” the demon king wants you to break them. When you sleep he comes and transforms into all kinds of forms to disturb your Samadhi power.

When you are awake, you may have Samadhi power, but when you are asleep, it fails you. You are moved by the state. You have no precept power, and your Samadhi power runs off. You have no idea at all where your wisdom power went. You can’t find any of them. The three powers of precepts, Samadhi and wisdom are non-existent. Your support topples over, and you are turned by the demonic state. This is the covering of sleep. So, sleep can also cover the self-nature’s light.

If you cultivate, you can remove the five coverings gradually. Collecting one’s thoughts in the mountains and forests for tens of thousands of millions of years. Life after life, Bodhisattvas like to stay in the mountains to cultivate. “If in this life I don’t become enlightened,” they resolve, “then in my next life I will continue to dwell here on the mountain and cultivate here for trillions of years.” In quest of the Way of the Buddha. “Why do I wish to dwell in the mountains? Why do I wish to be pure? Because I seek the Buddha Way.


Bodhisattvas there are seen,
who, with fine food and drink and with
a hundred kinds of broths and herbs
make offerings to the Buddha and the Sangha.

Who, with fine robes and superior garments,
of value in the millions,
or with in valuable robes
make offerings to the Buddha and the Sangha.

Who, with a million different kinds
of dwellings of precious sandalwood
and with much fine bedding
make offerings to the Buddha and the Sangha.

Who, with gardens and groves, clear and pure,
with flowers and fruits in abundance
with flowing springs and bathing ponds,
make offerings to the Buddha and the Sangha.

Offerings such as these,
of many kinds, extremely fine,
do they give with joy untiring,
seeking for the utmost Way.


J6. giving


Bodhisattvas there are seen, who, with fine food and drink and with fine vegetarian delicacies. A hundred kinds of broths and herbsmake offerings to the Buddha and the Sangha. The fine food and drink and the broths and herbs make up two of the offerings to the Triple Jewel, those of food and drink. You may make offerings to the Triple Jewel of food and drink or of broths and herbs, making some fine medicines so that when those who have left home get sick, they can use them to cure their illness.

There are four kinds of offerings: food and drink, clothing, bedding and medicine. The clothing given here is no ordinary clothing. They are fine robes and superior garments, very expensive clothing of value in the millions,or with in valuable robes. These clothes are absolutely priceless. Make offerings to the Buddha and the Sangha, they are given to the Buddha and the Sangha

And with a million different kinds of dwellings of precious sandalwood and with much fine bedding, make offerings to the Buddha and the Sangha.

With gardens and groves, clear and pure,with flowers and fruits in abundance, with flowing springs and bathing ponds, make offerings to the Buddha and the Sangha.
All these offerings, of many different kinds, are given to the Triple Jewel seeking for the utmost Way, the Buddha Way.


There are Bodhisattvas who
speak of still extinction’s Dharma
with various instructions teaching
living beings without number.

Seen are Bodhisattvas who
contemplate all Dharmas’ nature
as lacking the mark of duality,
like empty space.

Also seen are Buddha’s disciples
whose minds have no attachments and
who use this wondrous wisdom,
seeking for the utmost Way.


J7. Prajna


There are Bodhisattvas who,Maitreya Bodhisattva continues speaking to Manjushri Bodhisattva. Speak of still extinction’s Dharma. The dharma they teach is that of still extinction.

What is the dharma of still extinction?

It is “all dharmas are empty appearances.” It means “the mark of still extinction of all dharmas cannot be expressed in words.” The dharma of still extinction cannot be spoken. It has no appearance and it has no color. It is not green, yellow, red, white, or black. It isn’t long or short, square or round. It is the dharma of still extinction. With various instructions teaching.They use all manner of devices and teaching methods to:

1) cause living beings to turn their backs on the dust and unite with enlightenment.

2) lead living beings to clear understanding and awakening.

3) help beings awaken to the fact that all involvement with the dust of worldly affairs is a form of suffering.

Seen are Bodhisattvas who, contemplate all Dharmas’ nature, they look at the nature of all dharmas as lacking the mark of duality. Not only are they not marked by duality, they don’t even have one mark. If they don’t have even one mark, ultimately what are they like? Like empty space. Take a look at empty space. What is contained in it? There’s nothing in it at all, no forms and no appearances. But all the forms and appearances are not separate from empty space. All the forms and appearances are enclosed within empty space.

Would you say there is empty space in the earth? Dig a foot of earth out of the ground and you’ll have one foot of empty space. If you dig out ten feet, you’ll have ten feet of empty space. Before you dug the hole, was the space there or not? The space was there all the time. So, although forms and shapes are found in space, they cannot envelop empty space; empty space envelops them.

Even when there are material forms, empty space is still there. Empty space is also present in places where there are no material shapes. Well, if it’s present, then grab some and take a look at it! Oh? There’s nothing there. You can’t see it! If you try to taste empty space, it has no flavor. What color would you say empty space was? Empty space has no color. The Real Mark of all dharmas is also that way. It is just like space. So, if you understand the principle of empty space, you will understand the principle of the self-nature. Therefore, it is said,

The self-nature is like empty space.
It contains both the true and the false.
Awaken, fathom the basic substance.
In one understanding, understand all.

The self-nature is just like empty space. It contains both the true and the false. Within the self-nature both True Emptiness and Wonderful Existence are found. True Emptiness is just Wonderful Existence and Wonderful Existence is just True Emptiness. It is most certainly no the case that Wonderful Existence is to be found apart from True Emptiness. Nor is it the case that True Emptiness is to be found apart from Wonderful Existence. The very True Emptiness itself is Wonderful Existence, and Wonderful Existence itself is True Emptiness.

When the truth is not postulated,
The false is basically empty.
When existence and non-existence are both cast out,
What is not empty has been made empty.

The Truth is also non-existent. What is the Truth? To speak about the Truth is just to cheat people. What is the Truth?

What is the false?

The false is also non-existent. If you talk about the false, you are also cheating people. It’s merely the case that within their hearts, living beings, as common worldly creatures, hold to a true and a false. When you arrive at the self-nature, however, it is like empty space.

Empty space would never say, “I am empty space.” It has no ego, no self. If it said, “I am empty space,” then it wouldn’t be empty space. It would turn into an existing entity, so how could it remain empty space?” Emptiness has no “self” at all. Our own self-natures are also like that.

“Oh” you say, “Is there nothing at all? That’s really a shame. Nothing whatever?”

Don’t be afraid. When you have nothing at all, then you truly “have.” All the mountains, rivers, and the great earth, the forests and trees and the myriad objects within the world system of three thousand great thousand world--none of them are not yours! They are all yours. But you must truly have nothing at all. If you have even a hairsbreadth of obstruction, then none of it counts as yours.

Because you have that one little bit of obstruction, you cannot enjoy the possession of all those things. You have attachments and impediments. If you had no attachments or impediments, then you would truly have wealth and honor to the extreme, so that all of empty space and the entire Dharma Realm would be included in your self-nature.

Enlightened, you understand the basic substance of your self-nature; then, in one understanding, you understand all. When you are clear about one thing, then you are clear about everything. There is nothing you do not comprehend, nothing you do not understand. You penetrate the Three Bodies, the Four Wisdoms, the Five Eyes, and the Six Spiritual Penetrations. You don’t have to look for them outside. They are the jewels within your own household.

Hearing this, if you don’t become greatly enlightened, you should at least have a minor enlightenment. Don’t waste your time. Though I might speak for half a day, it’s as if I hadn’t spoken. If you don’t listen, that’s even more wonderful. I haven’t spoken and you haven’t heard. That’s the genuine, miraculous Prajna wisdom!

Also seen are Buddha’s disciples whose minds have no attachments. How’s that? Everything’s quite all right; everything’s okay. This kind of non-attachment, however, is not easy to achieve. You must truly understand the Way, obtaining the bright light of the self-nature in order to be unattached. But how does one obtain wisdom? It’s just by being unattached. The non-attachment itself is wisdom. If you’ve a single bit of attachment you won’t have that wisdom.

What wisdom? Doesn’t it say right here in the text: who use this wondrous wisdom, seeking for the utmost Way. This wondrous wisdom comes simply from your non-attachment. If you have attachments, you will not be able to have this subtle, wondrous wisdom. This wisdom arises from your non-attachment. So, you are wise. You should have no attachment. You should not think, “I can’t put this down and I can’t give that up…” If you can’t put it down, then you won’t have this wondrous wisdom. If you can put it down, your wondrous wisdom and intelligence will manifest.

One of my disciples has said to me a number of time, “Uh, no one’s making offering to the Triple Jewel. So many people and only one of them has made offerings. No one else has given.”

When I heard that, I wanted to cry. Why did I want to cry? Because I was afraid that my three disciples were going to starve to death. What would we do then? So, I wanted to cry. Just as I was about to burst into tears, it occurred to me, “That’s an attachment!” and I didn’t cry. I laughed! Why did I laughed? I thought, “Why, that’s the very best thing that could possibly happen! If no one makes offerings it will reveal whether or not you really want to cultivate the Way. It will draw out and harden your spiritual skill.”

If you have spiritual powers and real Samadhi power, then you can meditate and cultivate. When you can sit for ten days straight do you think there will be no offerings? No doubt they’d come from all over the country to make offerings to you. Why?

“Among westerners, there are sages!” people would cry. “They can sit for ten days, ‘thus, thus unmoving!” Would you still fear that no one would make offerings to the Triple Jewel? There would be nothing to fear.

On the other hand, you could also say that starving to death was the ultimate, the most glorious sacrifice. “I left home for the sake of the Buddha’s teaching. I do not take advantage of circumstances. I am going to sit here and, if no one makes offerings, I’m not going to go out and try to finagle them. If I starve to death, I will certainly get enlightened. It will be just like the Bhikshu who held the precept against killing so purely that he refused to drink water which had bugs in it and consequently died of thirst.

Because he was so sincere, the Buddha used his spiritual power to bring to where the Buddha was and he met the Buddha even before his traveling companion, who drank the water, did. Although the Buddha has already entered Nirvana, you can still hear him speak the Dharma to you. Don’t be nervous. So today it is publically announced that the Shramaneras are not to have money; they may not have money in their hands.

“But,” you say, “what about doing my laundry and buying soap and things? I need money for that, don’t I?”

A small amount, three or five dollars, is all right. But don’t carry more than that. More just leads to trouble. If you take care of money, you won’t be able to cultivate. You’ll have to keep books, if you don’t keep books, the donors will think, “I gave them money, but they have no record of it. What are they doing with it, anyway?” and they will distrust you.

In all the years I have left home, I will tell you, I have never told anyone to make offerings to me so that I could eat. I’ll tell you something else: This Master to whom you bow, is one without ability. What ability does he lack? He is unable to get money from people. I talk to people, and if they give, they give. If they don’t I do not pressure them. Besides, you should all know:

A single grain of the donor’s rice
Is as heavy as Mount Sumeru;
If you eat it and fail to cultivate,
You’ll end up wearing a fur coat and horns.

If you eat and drink the offerings of the faithful but do not cultivate the Way, if you do nothing but chatter all day long, senselessly, with never a time when your mouth is shut, do you think you can cultivate that way? I’m telling you to talk less and work harder. That is the fundamental duty of one who has left home.

When the laypeople look at those who have left home, they think, “They are just like us. We eat, they eat. We talk, they talk. We sleep, they sleep. They are no different from us, are they? Why should we make offerings to them?” I’m included in this myself. That’s why I don’t speak about useless matters. Anyway, I can’t speak English, I don’t like to talk a lot, so I don’t. Besides, I don’t have the time.

If you eat and fail to cultivate the Way, in the future it will be disastrous. Why should people go out and work and then give offerings to you? Only because you cultivate the Way. If you do not cultivate the Way, if you do not work hard, if you do not sit in Dhyana, you are not entitled to receive people’s offerings. This concerns me greatly.

I’ll tell you about something that happened to me. The first year I was in Hong Kong I had no money and I did not beg for any. Later, a layperson took me to Fu-jung Mountain to life in Kuan-yin Cave. The cave was extremely damp. In the cave, to say nothing of tea cups, there was nothing at all--no tables, no chairs, nothing at all; it was totally empty. I sat on a flat rock which jutted out from the wall. I sat there for several days and what do you think happened? My legs refused to move. They were numb and had no feeling in them at all.

At that point I had a false thought. It was, “I don’t want to sit here; I think I’ll leave.” But then I thought, “Someone took me here to cultivate; if I just stay for three days and leave, how could I possibly face anyone? How could I explain my actions? I’d have no way to do so. I don’t care if I die here, I’m not going to leave the cave.” I sat and sat for over half a month until my legs regained their feeling and I could use them once more. They no longer refused to cooperate. The, everyday I went down the mountain, carrying a bowl, to beg for food and brought it back to eat. But my obstacles loomed large.

After a year, because of the dampness inside the cave, I built a tiny hut right outside it. As soon as it was built, the obstacle arose. The neighboring dharma Master grew jealous of me and told the people at the nearby monastery, “Don’t make offerings to him. He’s got money. If he’s got the money to build a hut, hot could he not have money for food? Don’t make offerings to him.”

The Supervisor of the monastery believed him and refused to give me food. At that time I was without offerings altogether. No one made offerings, but I thought, “I have a few scraps of food here. I’ll eat them and then meditate.” I did not tell anyone that I had no food to eat. I did not go out and no one came to see me. I thought, “If I starve to death, I starve to death, so what! To starve to death is even better, even more glorious. To sacrifice one’s life for the Buddhadharma--there could be no greater glory, nothing more wonderful!”

I sat for several days. There was a layperson in his fifties who had been bitten in the leg by a dog. Two or three months had gone by and the wound still hadn’t healed. He had gone to both Chinese and Western doctors, but non had been able to cure him. One night he had a dream. In his dream, Wei-T’ou Bodhisattva appeared and told him, “If you want your leg to heal, you should go make offerings to the Dharma Master in Kuan-yin Cave on the far side of Fu-jung Mountain.”

And then Wei-T’ou Bodhisattva said my name. “Go make offerings to him and the dog bite on your leg will heal; it will be no problem.” He had that dream several times in one night. Wei-T’ou Bodhisattva also told him what the Dharma Master looked like and he saw how I looked. When he awoke from his dream he believed it and took over seventy Hong Kong dollars as well as thirty catties of rice, which he carried on his back, up to Kuan-yin Cave.

When the neighboring Dharma Master saw a food donor, a Dharma protector coming up the path, he ran right out to welcome him and see what he was carrying. The donor asked, “Does a Dharma Master live here?” he asked.

“I am in charge here,” came the reply. “Whatever you wish to give, you may give to me. Don’t go looking for any other Dharma Masters.”

“But I saw a certain Dharma Master in my dream,” the layperson continued. He didn’t look anything like you. Wei-T’ou Bodhisattva told me to give the offerings to him and he wasn’t like you at all. I want to give these things to him!”

“Hah!” the Dharma Master’s temper blazed. “What are you talking about! What kind of talk is that? I am the supervisor here. He most certainly is not. Any offerings you wish to give you should give to me,” and he started to wrangle with the layperson.

I was in the cave and could hear them. When my name came up in the conversation, I went out to take a look at what was going on. When the layperson saw me, he exclaimed, “That’s him! That’s the person I saw in my dream. I have come to make offerings to this Dharma Master!”

The Dharma Master was furious. I asked the layperson what had happened and he told me about his dream. I said, “Good, make your offerings. Making offerings to other people is just the same as making offerings to me. You wish to make offering to me, and this Dharma Master is my neighbor. Although we eat separately, we divide up everything. You should give half the rice and money to him. The Dharma Master was sputtering with rage and he wanted to argue, but he couldn’t think of anything to say. The offerings were divided in half and he said to the layperson, “After this, if you want to give offerings, you must first give them to me.”

At any rate, I didn’t starve to death. The layperson got the name “Dharma Master Homegrown” because he liked to speak the Dharma and he was “homegrown”, that is, not an imported Dharma Master. He wasn’t really a Dharma Master, of course, he was a layperson. People kidded him by using that nickname and everywhere he went he said, “Oh, it’s really strange. In Kuan-yin Cave there is a Dharma Master. In a dream, Wei-T’ou Bodhisattva told me I should go make offerings to him and my leg would heal. I did, and sure enough, as soon as I got back, my leg healed all by itself without the aid of a doctor.” He thought it was very strange.

After that incident, which was really nothing in itself, I did not starve to death. Although no one had made offerings to me, the laypeople in Hong Kong started coming from long distances, and they all made offerings. No matter who gave offerings, I divided them all in half between myself and the Dharma Master next door. Although they were given to me, I gave him half. Later, he used all kinds of methods to try to ruin me. Finally, I had to leave. I couldn’t live there. I went to build the Western Bliss Gardens.

When I was staying at Kuan-yin Cave, there were two pools of water from the mountain in front of the cave. They came from the mountain and provide enough water for the daily use of ten or twenty people. What do you think happened after I moved out? The water stopped flowing down the mountain. There was no water. When I built the Western Bliss Gardens, there was no water there. But then the water came. All the monks said I took the water with me. I didn’t starve to death after all, although I came close to it.

If you are not afraid of starving to death, then don’t worry. There will certainly be offerings. If you are afraid of starving to death, no one will make offerings. If you are not afraid of starving to death, everything will work out fine. You need only have no fear and then spontaneously your Way karma will increase. So don’t worry that you’ll get no offerings. Besides, when it gets right down to the point of having no offerings at all, they will appear of themselves; if you have cultivation you will evoke that response.

Those who have left home should worry about whether or not they have accomplished they Way karma. They should not worry about whether or not there are offerings. If you receive offerings but do not become enlightened or realize your Way karma, then you are still just a common person. If you have accomplished your Way karma, you are still a sage, even if you get no offerings. Those of you who have left home, do you think about the fact that, as the days go by, you have not accomplished your Way karma? Do you consider it a problem? Or do you worry that, as you cultivate and recite Sutras, you are not yet perfect in your recitations?

In the West, this is a beginning, and we all must be pioneering patriarchs. Just what gives you the right to be patriarchs? What merit and virtue, what accomplishment, do you have? Which Sutra do you really understand, can you truly explain? As far as your spiritual skill goes, can you sit for one, two, three, four, five hours and so forth until we come to one day, two days, one month, two months without moving your legs?

If you have that kind of Samadhi, then why are you so worried about not receiving offerings? If you have no Samadhi power, you may look for offerings, but the more you look for them, the farther they will recede. Why? People will see you and think, “Oh, there’s that monk who climbs on conditions. He goes around everywhere telling people to make offerings and exploiting them, but he doesn’t cultivate. He just takes advantage of other people in order to get offerings.” This is an extremely grave mistake. You should now return the light and reverse the illumination.

Ask not whether people have made offerings to you;
Ask what you have done to deserve offerings.

If you were busy cultivating the Way, how would you have time to notice whether or not people have made offerings. If you really cultivate the Way, you won’t know whether they have or not. Why? Because your heart will not be caught up in food and drink. It is said,

Superior people yearn for the Way;
They do not yearn for food.

If someone makes offerings to them, that’s the way they are; if no one makes offerings to them, they are still that way. “I would rather die cultivating the Way than get away with loafing and ask for pity in order to live.” Your determination should be so strong that you understand with the top of your head in the sky and your feet firmly on the ground. “My head can burst its way right up to the highest heaven; it can poke right through the Heaven of Neither Perception nor Non-perception. Such is my resolve!”

It shouldn’t be that you go for a day or two without eating and think, “I can’t stand it.” Don’t be like that; that’s being entirely too spineless, and I don’t want any spineless disciples. So, you should stand firm on your resolve. People in the world all like money. You should not want money; you should pay no attention to money. Cultivate the Way with a true heart and everything will be okay. If you cultivate the Way without a true heart, it will be all muddled, and you will create even more offense karma.

So today I have taken the lecture period to explain a bit of genuine principle. After this, if one has virtue, even if people want to give one money, one shouldn’t want it. They must kneel, make obeisance very respectfully, and then I will accept it. But if they are not respectful, I will not accept it. I will not accept their offering.”

I have something further to say. Those who are at home should protect the Dharma of those who have left home. If you let the left-home people starve to death, then when you want to do acts of merit and virtue, you’ll have nowhere to go to do it. Why? The Triple Jewel will have starved to death! Even if you wanted to foster merit and virtue, you wouldn’t be able to do it.

Those who have left home should know what they are supposed to do and those who are at home should also know what they are supposed to do. Don’t wait until the Triple Jewel has starved to death. If you try to make offerings to them then, you won’t be able to, because there won’t be any Triple Jewel to make offerings to! Everyone should do his job and carry out his responsibilities. Those who have left home must cultivate the Way and those who are at home have the responsibility to make offerings. If those who have left home do not cultivate, then those at home will not make offerings. If those at home do not make offerings, then those who have left home will not be able to cultivate. Those who have left home should cultivate and those at home make offerings. That’s called “working together.”

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