The Ten Dwellings ___
Chapter Fifteen. A Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
VI. The Dwelling of Rectification of the Mind
“Disciples of the Buddha. What is the Bodhisattva’s Dwelling of Rectification of the Mind? The mind of this Bodhisattva, upon hearing ten kinds of dharmas, is in samadhi and does not move. What are the ten? They are: hearing praise of the Buddha, hearing slander of the Buddha, within the Buddhadharma one’s mind is in samadhi and does not move.
“Disciples of the Buddha.” Dharma Wisdom Bodhisattva again called out, “ What is the Bodhisattva’s Dwelling of Rectification of the Mind? The mind of this Bodhisattva, upon hearing ten kinds of dharmas, is in samadhi and does not move. As it is said,
The eight winds blow and do not move me,
As I sit upright on a purple golden lotus.
What are the ten? What are these ten kinds of dharmas? They are: hearing praise of the Buddha, hearing slander of the Buddha, within the Buddhadharma one’s mind is in samadhi and does not move. This says if you praise the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time, or if you slander the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time, that Bodhisattva in the Dwelling of Rectification of the Mind nonetheless maintains proper concentration. So whether or not you slander the Buddha or praise the Buddha, his mind is firmly fixed and does not move with regard to the Buddhadharma. “If you praise, go ahead and praise. If you slander, go ahead and slander,” is their attitude.
The believers believe,
The slanderers slander.
Each creates his own karma.
Bodhisattvas who dwell in Rectification of the Mind are unmoving in mind. They have no thoughts of praise. If people are wise, when someone praises them they are not happy, and when someone slanders them they don’t become afflicted. It is said,
Slandered or praised, he does not move his mind.
If someone scolds you and says you are really awful, your mind does not move. If someone is without samadhi and you give them a single word of praise, they embrace the praise and run off to the heavens. They are extremely happy. If you say they are bad, they take hold of that “bad” and run off to the hells. Running to the heavens is laughter. If you are always laughing, that is the heavens. If you are always crying, that is the hells. So people who cultivate the Way should not be emotional. Don’t be like one of my young disciples who is so utterly spineless that is you say one sentence he cries. You say two sentences and he cries again. All he can do is cry. He cries too much. That’s meaningless! Basically, as old as he is, he should already be able to defeat all the great philosophers in debate, but here he is and he can’t even combat his crying.
“Hearing praise of the Dharma, hearing slander of the Dharma, within the Buddhadharma one’s mind is in samadhi and does not move. Hearing praise of the Bodhisattvas, hearing slander of the Bodhisattvas, within the Buddhadharma one’s mind is in samadhi and does not move. Hearing praise of the dharmas cultivated by Bodhisattvas, hearing slander of the dharmas cultivated by Bodhisattvas, within the Buddhadharma one’s mind is in samadhi and does not move. Hearing it said that living beings have limits, are limitless, within the Buddhadharma one’s mind is in samadhi and does not move. Hearing it said that living beings are defiled, are undefiled, within the Buddhadharma one’s mind is in samadhi and does not move. Hearing it said that living beings are easy to save, are difficult to save, within the Buddhadharma one’s mind is in samadhi and does not move. Hearing it said that the Dharma Realms have limits, are limitless, within the Buddhadharma one’s mind is in samadhi and does not move. Hearing it said that Dharma Realms are created, are destroyed, within the Buddhadharma one’s mind is in samadhi and does not move. Hearing it said that Dharma Realms exist, that Dharma Realms do not exist, within the Buddhadharma one’s mind is in samadhi and does not move. These are the ten.
“Hearing praise of the Dharma, hearing slander of the Dharma, within the Buddhadharma one’s mind is in samadhi and does not move. The Bodhisattva dwelling in Rectification of the Mind is more or less like wood and is not much different from clay. But he is still a living being with feelings, which makes him a little different from wood or clay. However, in the fact that his mind does not move, he is like unmoving wood and unmoving clay.
The Bodhisattva Dwelling in Rectification of the Mind hears living beings either praise the Dharma or slander the Dharma and he does not move. It is not that when he hears you praise the Buddha he is happy, and when he hears you slander the Buddha, he is unhappy; or that when he hears you praise the Dharma he is happy, and when he hears you slander the Dharma he is unhappy—just being moved by outer states. His mind and nature do not move. Hearing praise of the Bodhisattvas, hearing slander of the Bodhisattvas, within the Buddhadharma one’s mind is in samadhi and does not move.
The “Bodhisattvas” refers to the Sangha. Above, the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha—the Triple Jewel—was discussed. When he hears people praise the members of the Sangha, his mind does not delight in it. If he hears someone slander the Bodhisattvas—the Sangha—he does not become afflicted. He just dwells in the Buddhadharma with his mind in samadhi and remains unmoving. That’s how firm his samadhi power is—unmoved by praise or slander. Hearing praise of the dharmas cultivated by Bodhisattvas, hearing slander of the dharmas cultivated by Bodhisattvas, within the Buddhadharma one’s mind is in samadhi and does not move. Hearing praise or slander of the Bodhisattvas’ practice of the Dharma, his mind is in samadhi in the Buddhadharma and he does not move. He hears you praise the Bodhisattvas or slander the Dharmas that Bodhisattvas practice—using all kinds of devices to slander or praise—and his mind is in samadhi in the Buddhadharma and does not move.
Hearing it said that living beings have limits, are limitless, within the Buddhadharma one’s mind is in samadhi and does not move. He hears that living beings have a limit or have no limit, but his mind does not move. He is not turned by that state. Hearing it said that living beings are defiled, are undefiled, within the Buddhadharma one’s mind is in samadhi and does not move. Hearing that living beings are defiled or undefiled, he simply dwells in the Buddhadharma, and his mind is unmoving and in samadhi.
Hearing it said that living beings are easy to save, are difficult to save, within the Buddhadharma one’s mind is in samadhi and does not move. On hearing that living beings are not easy to take across or that they are, he does not move his mind. The eight winds blow but do not move him. If faced with praise, ridicule, suffering, bliss, benefit, destruction, gain, or loss—he does not move his mind.
Hearing it said that the Dharma Realms have limits, are limitless, within the Buddhadharma one’s mind is in samadhi and does not move. Hearing that Dharma Realms have limits or do not have limits, his mind does not move.
Hearing it said that Dharma Realms are created, are destroyed, within the Buddhadharma one’s mind is in samadhi and does not move. Some people say that the Dharma Realm has a time of coming into being and others say it has a time of destruction, but the Bodhisattvas Dwelling in Rectification of the Mind do not move their minds. In the Buddhadharma their minds are in samadhi and do not move.
Hearing it said that Dharma Realms exist, that Dharma Realms do not exist, within the Buddhadharma one’s mind is in samadhi and does not move. On hearing that there are Dharma Realms or that there are no Dharma Realms, he is within the Buddhadharma and does not move his mind. That is, the person turns the state, the state does not turn the person. These are the ten. These are the ten kinds of Dharmas of not being turned by states.
“Disciples of the Buddha, this Bodhisattva should encourage the study of ten dharmas. What are the ten? They are:
All Dharmas have no marks;
All Dharmas have no substance;
All Dharmas cannot be cultivated;
All Dharmas have no existence;
All Dharmas have no true actuality;
All Dharmas are empty;
All Dharmas have no nature;
All Dharmas are like an illusion;
All Dharmas are like a dream;
All Dharmas have no differentiation.
This passage tells cultivators to cultivate and not to attach to dharmas. Attachment to dharmas is the same as attachment to self.
If you see matters and awaken to matters,
You transcend the world.
If you see matters and are confused by matters,
You fall upon the defiling wheel.
Right within marks you must separate from marks; right within defiling objects you must leave defiling objects. In the world you must transcend the world. How do you transcend the defiling objects while in their midst? Basically you are due to have defiled false thoughts, but you don’t have them. Your body is in the midst of defiling objects, but your mind transcends them. In your mind there is no defilement. Just like a flower in a well which is not defiled by dust, so it is that all thought is empty. The myriad thoughts are empty. How free! The attachment to dharmas is as important to break as the attachment to self. You should not have an attachment to dharmas. Dharma Wisdom Bodhisattva calls out, “Disciples of the Buddha. You are all disciples who follow the Buddha’s teaching.” This Bodhisattva on the Dwelling of Rectification of the Mind refers to one does not know how many Bodhisattvas. There is not just one, that’s certain.
Therefore, it says, “this” Bodhisattva, meaning this kind of Bodhisattva. This Bodhisattva should encourage the study of ten dharmas. He should exhort others diligently to cultivate and also do so himself. He himself should cultivate these ten kinds of Dharma doors. If he does not practice, then that is just “head-mouth” Zen—telling others to practice and not doing so himself. You must be an example and actually, truly practice these ten dharmas. What are the ten? They are: All Dharmas have no marks. Basically dharmas have no marks, but if you attach to them, then dharma marks appear. If you are not attached, then people and dharmas are empty. That is no mark. All Dharmas have no substance. Why are all dharmas said to be without marks? It is because all dharmas are separate from marks. Within marks one leaves marks. All dharmas are also without a substantial nature. Therefore it says, “Even Dharma must be renounced.” Even the proper Dharma must be renounced, “How much more what is not Dharma.” If you attach to what is not genuine Dharma, that is a mistake. If you attach to a fundamental substance, then that is even more of a mistake. All Dharmas cannot be cultivated. Don’t attach to which dharmas can be cultivated, because whether dharmas are cultivated or not cultivated depends upon you as a person, not upon the dharmas. The dharmas do not cultivate. That’s not to say that since they cannot be cultivated that we shouldn’t cultivate. It means that the dharmas themselves do not need to be cultivated.
All Dharmas have no existence. All dharmas are basically empty, so what further existence do they have? Therefore it says that they have no existence. All Dharmas have no true actuality. Why are all dharmas said to have no existence? It is because they have no true actuality. The dharmas are methods, just rules.
All Dharmas are empty. If you certify to the emptiness of all dharmas, there simply is nothing at all.
Originally there is not one thing,
so where can the dust alight?
If you certify to that state, what attachments could you have? What greed, what hatred, what stupidity? All dharmas are empty! Basically there is not one thing, so all dharmas are empty. If you attain certification to that state, then you always have permanence, bliss, true self, and purity. If you truly realize that all dharmas are empty, there are no afflictions whatsoever. If dharmas are empty, how can there be any affliction?
All Dharmas have no nature. Why are all dharmas said to be empty? It is because all dharmas have no nature of their own. The dharmas exist because people exist, and therefore dharmas are useful. If people are empty, of what use are dharmas?
People can promote the Dharma;
It is not that the Dharma promotes people.
All Dharmas are like an illusion. You should also know that all dharmas are like an illusion, a transformation; they are not real. All Dharmas are like a dream.
A person’s life is a dream.
A person’s death is a dream.
In the dream he seems to be
rich and honored.
Awakening from the dream,
he’s as poor as before.
In your dream you get rich, become an official, a mayor, or a president. But when you awake from the dream, you are still in the poorhouse. What does it mean to be poor? It means you do not have the Way. Without the Way you are poor.
Everyday people have dreams,
Yet they never awaken from those
yellow rice dreams.
A person put a pot of yellow rice on to cook and then fell asleep. In his dream he became emperor, a high official, a mayor, a top scholar, a Ph.D., and amassed great wealth, had many wives and children, and passed through an entire lifetime—about seventy years. But when he awoke from the dream, the rice wasn’t even ready yet. If you don’t awaken from your dream, you will dream on and on. So all dharmas are like a dream.
All Dharmas have no differentiation. They are not differentiated at all.
“Why is that? From a desire to bring one’s mind to ever increase in vigor, and obtain non-retreating patience with the non-production of dharmas. When one hears the Dharma, one understands it by oneself, not from the teachings of another.
When people listen to Sutras they should not use their discriminating mind to listen. We should have no discrimination concerning the Buddhadharmas. “Why is that? Why should we be that way? Why should we break all attachments to dharmas? From a desire to bring one’s mind…It is desiring to cause the Bodhisattva on the Dwelling of Rectification of the Mind, and the living beings he teaches…to ever increase in vigor—step by step to have supreme progress.
In the beginning there are things to do,
But in the end it is non-action.
In the beginning of cultivation you need to rely a bit on marks, but ultimately you must leave marks. This means that people who cultivate must take up the thought of cultivation. But when they accomplish their aim, they must put down that one thought and not have a single thought at all. What worries, what impediments could you have then?
Without impediments you are far apart
from upside down dream thinking.
Why do you have upside down dream thinking? It is because you have impediments. Impediments in greater terms means that you cannot put down the world. In lesser terms it means you cannot put down the body and mind. The world: “What about my country? What about my family?”
On a small scale, it’s the mind and body.
On a large scale, it’s the world.
My body…hah! “If I don’t eat for two days, I feel that my body is insulted. Three days and I cry. Four days and I die. The fifth day I go off to rebirth.” You see, that’s being afraid—afraid of this, afraid of that. Go to the mountains and you’re afraid of tigers. Go to the sea, and you’re afraid of whales. “What if they eat me? What will I do?” Take a plane into space and you wonder, “Will it crash?” So you hurry and recite the Buddha’s name, “Namo Amitabha Buddha, Namo Amitabha Buddha, Namo Amitabha Buddha…” Why? For fear this body will die. It is because you cannot put down your body. You are afraid of death. You see what a great impediment it is! If you have no impeding obstructions, then everything is fine. Like one of my disciples: now he has no impeding obstructions. His father is in New York, and he pays no attention to him. He writes no letters and makes no phone calls. That’s having no impeding obstructions. When his young friends invite him to parties or out to play, he doesn’t go. That’s to a certain extent having no impeding obstructions. But then look at Kuo Hui. Although he is called Kuo Hui, Fruit of Return, all he does is think about running away. He wants to go take a look at this and that. That’s not being able to put it down. That’s having impeding obstructions. He hasn’t returned. If he had really returned he wouldn’t have any impediments. If you have no impediments then you have no fear—you are not afraid of anything. Why are you afraid? It is because you have impediments. That is why you are afraid of this and afraid of that. If you didn’t have any impediments, you wouldn’t be afraid of anything. Consider what it would be like if inside there was no body and mind and outside there was no world. Then what could there be to impede you? What could you attach to? To evolve is to make your mind free from impediments. You reach a point where you obtain non-retreating. You obtain irreversible position, irreversible thought, and irreversible conduct, and in all things you do not retreat. What don’t you retreat from? From the patience with the non-production of dharmas. What’s meant by the patience of non-production of dharmas? It means that you don’t see a single dharma produced, and you don’t see a single dharma destroyed. What does that mean? It means that everything is empty. It means that you have experienced the emptiness of dharmas.
People are empty, Dharmas are empty.
And in the midst of that,
The self-nature is resplendent.
At that time, everything is clearly understood. At that time, it’s called the patience with the non-production of dharmas, and you can bear it. That’s because when you experience it, basically there is a bit of not being able to stand it, a bit of not being able to bear it. But you are able to bear it. You shouldn’t think that when you don’t see a single dharma produced, and you don’t see a single dharma extinguished, that that is easy to experience. It’s not easy. If you really reach it, and experience it, then you have no worries, no concerns, and you are far from upside down dream thinking. It is ultimately Nirvana.
When one hears the Dharma, one understands it by oneself. Whatever Dharma they hear, they understand it by themselves. They understand it all. They are enlightened on their own. No matter what Dharma you speak, it enlightens them. “The coarse and fine all return to the primary meaning.” When you experience that, then if people scold you or praise you, it’s all the same. It’s just as above when it said, “One’s mind is in samadhi and does not move.” The “not moving” is what Confucius referred to as the Mean.
Before happiness, anger, sorrow,
and joy arise—that’s the mean.
However, at that time it’s also samadhi. It is also not moving.
Not from the teachings of another. It is not necessary that anyone teach you. The Dharma you hear enables you yourself to awaken and tally with true principle. That is called non-retreating from the patience with the non-production of dharmas. When the Bodhisattva reaches this state, would you say it was wonderful or not? If you ask this and that before you experience it, the questions are useless. To experience it is unspeakably wonderful. It means to be an outstanding person and excel one’s peers,” to be different from ordinary people.
You Americans are all outstanding among your peers, all very intelligent, and you very much like to enjoy yourselves. You are a lot smarter than I am. When I started to cultivate, I recited the Earth Store Sutra and the Dharma Flower Sutra while kneeling on bricks. Basically there were cushions, but I didn’t use them. I was that stupid. My knees broke open and bled. I said, “If you bleed, bleed. I’m not paying any attention.” The incense I burned while I recited was a two-hour stick. I see you now not only sit on Ch’an benches which have foam rubber on them, but also you put more pillows on top of that, and when you kneel you’ve got to have a cushion. You can’t stand to suffer, so you are much more intelligent than your teacher. At that time, I was such a dolt that I didn’t want cushions. I wanted my knees to break open and bleed. I thought it was appropriate. This proves that you are more intelligent than your teacher.
VII. The Dwelling of Non-Retreat
“Disciples of the Buddha. What is the Bodhisattva’s Dwelling of Non-Retreat? This Bodhisattva, upon hearing ten kinds of dharmas, is firm and does not retreat. What are the ten? They are: Hearing that there are Buddhas, that there are no Buddhas, within the Buddhadharma his mind does not retreat. Hearing that there is Dharma, that there is no Dharma, within the Buddhadharma his mind does not retreat. Hearing that there are Bodhisattvas, that there are no Bodhisattvas, within the Buddhadharma his mind does not retreat.
Dharma Wisdom Bodhisattva called out again, “Disciples of the Buddha, do you know what is called the Bodhisattva’s Dwelling of Non-Retreat? It is dwelling in the Bodhi mind and not retreating. What is the Bodhi mind? It is the enlightened mind without ignorance, afflictions, and stupidity, which is continually awake to the fact that all is suffering, is empty, impermanent, and without a self. This is the Dwelling of Non-Retreat. “Bodhisattva” is Sanskrit. Translated it means “Enlightened Sentient Being”—one who enlightens all with sentience. Among all sentient beings there is a sentient being who is enlightened. He understands everything. He is not as stupid as common people, who are selfish and out for self-benefit. Bodhisattvas help others, they do not harm them. A Bodhisattva cannot think “What’s in it for me?” before he does something. He is not out for himself but instead benefits all living beings. Bodhisattvas are open-minded, public-spirited, and not selfish; they want to benefit living beings and don’t want to be benefited by living beings.
In this Dwelling they hear ten kinds of dharmas. Why? This Bodhisattva, upon hearing ten kinds of dharmas, is firm and does not retreat. He does not retreat from the thought of enlightenment. What are the ten? They are: Hearing that there are Buddhas, that there are no Buddhas, within the Buddhadharma his mind does not retreat. The Bodhisattva who dwells in Non-Retreat, upon hearing people say that there are Buddhas of the past, present, and future, that there are Buddhas in all the three periods of time, does not retreat from the resolve for Bodhi. Or perhaps on the other hand, he hears that there are no Buddhas of the past, present and future—none whatsoever. There are people who try to cheat you by telling you that there are no Buddhas of the past, present, or future. They cheat those who lack knowledge and wisdom. Ultimately then, what is a Buddha? The Buddha is a guiding Master for living beings of the past, present, and future. He understands everything. Bodhisattvas who truly recognize the Buddha do not move or retreat when they hear others say that there are no Buddhas. It is not that if they hear the Buddha exists they cultivate, but if they hear there is no Buddha they retreat and say, “I’ll believe in Catholicism—God is always in my heart, and I am always in his; I am very close to God.”
A Bodhisattva does not retreat. He recognizes what the Buddha is all about. He recognizes true Dharma, so whether people say that there is or is not a Buddha just depends on their knowledge. If you have wisdom, you can recognize the Buddha. An example is a man who is congenitally blind and cannot see the sun. He does not know what its shape is like. Someone tells him the sun is round, so he says, “Oh, it’s round!” But if someone tells him that the sun is square, he will say, “Oh, it’s square!” Someone else says it is very hot and triangular and is shaped like a piece of metal. Another tells him the sun is oblong and can shine. Oblong and very warm. He may think it’s round or square or triangular or oblong, but he still doesn’t know what the sun is really like. Why? Because he is congenitally blind and does not truly know the shape of the sun.
The stupid man does not know that there are Buddhas, just as the blind man does not know what the sun looks like. A Bodhisattva recognizes the Buddha, so he is not influenced by the words of others. He has eyes and can see the sun. He doesn’t need to debate about it.
Hearing that there is Dharma, that there is no Dharma, within the Buddhadharma his mind does not retreat. People say that there is the Buddhadharma or that there is not the Buddhadharma, and within the Buddhadharma his mind does not move. If you say that the six perfections and the ten thousand practices are false and that he should not cultivate—that there is no Buddha, so how could there be a Dharma and it’s useless to cultivate—on hearing all that he doesn’t give up his resolve for enlightenment.
The Bodhisattva dwelling in Non-Retreat does not retreat no matter what he hears. Hearing that there are Bodhisattvas, that there are no Bodhisattvas, within the Buddhadharma his mind does not retreat. If he hears others say that the sagely Assembly of Bodhisattvas and Arhats exists, he does not retreat from Bodhi; if he hears there are no Bodhisattvas, he does not retreat. So when he hears the above, that the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha exist or do not exist, in either case his mind does not retreat.
We were talking about blind people who can’t see the sun. Someone with heavy ignorance who does not believe in the Buddha is like a blind man who cannot see the sun. If people want to turn from Buddhism and find some other religion that’s just fine. If you can find a religion with true principle, this is very good. It is just to be feared that one will not look and will not pay attention to whether or not it has true principles. Then it is just the blind leading the blind—one who is blind himself acting as a guide for others. How can he point out the road for others and lead others along the path? Knowing how to find a religion with principle is a good thing; however, Buddhism encompasses everything. The teachings of Buddhism pervade empty space and the Dharma Realm. There is nothing, not the smallest atom, which is not Buddhism. Even the toilet, the filthiest place, is part of Buddhism; it can’t escape from Buddhism. So whether Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, or Taoism, it makes no difference; all are in the Buddhadharma—they do not escape the Dharma Realm.
The Buddhadharma contains all; there is nothing it does not contain. Good and bad, right and wrong, all are included within it. Whoever can run outside of empty space, outside of the Dharma Realm, is not part of Buddhism. But if you cannot run outside of empty space, then you are part of the Buddhadharma. So, I consider all religions as Buddhism; it is just that their work is not the same. They work in different departments, each at a different job. Each does his own work. Because of this, I’m not afraid if someone does not believe in the Buddhadharma. If you believe, that’s good; if you don’t believe, that’s fine too.
The Buddha said that all living beings have the Buddha Nature. All can become Buddhas. If you don’t believe today, you will believe tomorrow. If you don’t believe this week, you will believe next week; or if you don’t believe this month, next month you will; or if you don’t believe this year, next year you will. You say, “No, I won’t!” Then next life you will. If not then, then next life. At the end of this life you can’t control your rebirth, but if you think, “Oh, I should have tried to be reborn, but if you think, “Oh, I should have tried to be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss!” just this thought will make you believe in your next life—to the point that if you don’t believe this kalpa, you will next kalpa. I will wait for you no matter how long it takes. So I don’t fear that my disciples may not believe in the Buddhadharma, or that you will convert to another religion. I will praise you and say, “Good move, good move!” So, the teaching of my Buddhadharma pervades the Dharma Realm. It takes the Dharma Realm as its substance, name, teaching, and sect.
I will watch wherever you run. Wherever you run, you won’t get out of the universe and escape beyond outer space. Here is another analogy. There is a person who can see the moon. He doesn’t like the moon. When he sees it he gets angry. “Why are you always following me?” He runs off to the North, South, East, and West, and it still follows him. Wherever he runs, he never gets out of the moonlight. He goes to the four continents, Jambudvipa, Uttarakuru, Aparagodaniya, and Purvavideha, and the moonlight always stays right with him. The man who can see wants to do away with the moonlight, but there is no way he can avoid seeing it, unless he bores himself into the ground. When he surfaces, he will still see the moon’s light. The Buddhadharma is like the moon. No matter where you run, you cannot run out of the Buddhadharma. All are contained within its light and within its wisdom. So, confused people do confused things, and people with understanding act with understanding. Basically there is no confusion or understanding, and so nothing is going on.
There is nothing happening at all. You cause all your troubles yourself.
There is nothing going on in heaven or earth.
But stupid people perturb themselves.
Why don’t I fear that my disciples will run away? Because no matter where you run, you’ll come back. I take the Dharma Realm as my substance. Kuo Hui (Fruit of Return) left, but had to return. He tried to find a reason to stay away, but to no avail. He kept trying to think of ways to not come to Gold Mountain. He didn’t want to return, but he had no way not to come back. I asked him why he returned, and he said that he had no way to avoid it. So I don’t fear that my disciples won’t come back; unless I have cheated you. But if what I say is true and not a lie, then those with wisdom cannot fail to recognize it and will eventually come back. The things that people do in the world are all in order to repay debts. When they have paid off their debts, there is nothing more they need to do. You can say that all religions work for Buddhism, just as in a country all the people work for the president. The principle is the same, but there are those who do not know this, who don’t recognize this doctrine. So those who practice the Bodhisattva Way should help and not harm people. Ask yourself, “Why am I so selfish? Why do I only think of my own interests? Why should I want to harm people?” In every matter you should think of others and their welfare and not harm them.
That’s a Bodhisattva’s thought. Bodhisattvas have no self. They ignore themselves and lead others to accomplishment. This is the thought and conduct of a Bodhisattva. We should each ask ourselves, “Why did I come into the world this time? To wear clothes, eat, and live somewhere? Is that it?” If so, you don’t even measure up to a dog! At least dogs watch the door. There is no value to your being a human being. Why did you come into this world? To help the world, to help it be better day by day. Not to fight and be greedy, hateful, and stupid and only know that “I” exist. If you are that kind of person, hurry up and change. Don’t be confused! You should benefit all living beings, then life has some worth. To be a person one should benefit the world. Be virtuous toward others and benefit all countries on earth.
Once there was an old cultivator who did nothing but eat with his disciples. All day long he did no work. All he did was laugh along with his pals. Once the old cultivator had eaten his fill and had nothing to do, so he played a joke on his young disciple. He said, “Everyone likes to be number one. Everyone wants to be famous and to have a position. Instead, let’s say who is the smallest, the lowliest, who is the most worthless, who is really inferior. Whoever loses the debate will be required to eat a piece of candy and drink a bottle of coke!”
“Okay,” said the disciple. “Let’s do it.”
The master said, “I am a dog.”
The disciple said, “I am the dog’s rump.”
The master thought it over and said, “I’m the dog’s excrement.”
The disciple said, “I’m a worm in the dog’s excrement.”
The master said, “What are you doing there?”
He should have said he was eating the dog excrement, but he said he was taking a bath. The master said, “Oh, I’ve lost. You eat two pieces of candy and drink a coke!”
What do you think about that? Don’t laugh. This is not defiled and not pure. If you have a mind that discriminates, you’ll vomit at this story. If you don’t, it’s no problem.
previous * next * contents
return to top