THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
I want to tell you what to do after I'm gone. All of you should prepare yourselves psychologically. I may depart at any time. Nothing is fixed.
All people have birth, old age, sickness, and death. Even the Buddha entered Nirvana when the time came. This time I have been ill for five years. Three years ago, I continued lecturing on Sutras and speaking the Dharma as usual. You all didn't know that I was ill as I propagated the Buddhadharma. Now I feel that my illness is getting worse day by day. I don't know when I will get better and when I will get worse, so I will tell everyone about what to do after I've gone.
If I go, a certain layperson made an offering to me of a yellow padded jacket and yellow pants. I can wear this set of clothes with a long robe outside, as I usually do. Then I can wear a yellow host sash or the red host sash. Actually, the yellow sash is also a host sash.
After I depart, you can recite the Avatamsaka Sutra and the name of the Buddha for however many days you would like, perhaps seven days or forty-nine days. After the cremation, scatter my ashes in the air. I do not want you to do anything else at all for me. Do not build any pagodas or memorials. I came into the world without anything; when I depart, I still do not want anything, and I do not want to leave any traces in the world. I came from empty space, and I will also return to empty space.
I won't be leaving much of anything behind, just a few strands of recitation beads. You can draw lots to see who gets what. Whatever you draw is yours. That's just in case.
If I don't tell you now, then when the time comes, you'll panic and not know what to do. Now I'm telling you what to do after I depart, so when the time comes, you won't all have your own opinions.
I can't be together with you all your lives. Every person has a time for coming and a time for going. Don't be sad. Act the same way that you do in ordinary times. Resolve to apply effort diligently. The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas has its unique features. The rule of eating one meal a day should be kept. Young people should eat one meal a day. It's alright for elderly people to eat three meals. It's better for young people to eat less. The important thing is to cultivate.
Every one of you should work hard to make Buddhism flourish. In every move you make and every word you say, you should be thinking on behalf of Buddhism. Do not fight, do not be greedy, do not seek, do not be selfish, do not pursue personal advantage, and do not lie. Then you will certainly become a Buddha in the future. Every person has to shoulder the responsibility of propagating the Buddhadharma. If you can cause Buddhism to prosper and flourish, then I'll be able to set my heart at ease no matter where I am.
Do a good job of training people and teaching the students. You should get organized and run the schools well. The elementary school should be managed well, the secondary school should be managed well, and the university be managed well even more! Educating and training people is very important. You shouldn't care exclusively about yourself.
In my life I have never wished to contend with anyone, or to be greedy, or to seek, or to be selfish, or to pursue personal advantage, or to lie. So when I walk, I always walk behind everyone else. My intent is not to contend with anyone for fame or benefit. If there is any advantage that other people want, I don't want it. What others don't want, I pick up. The Buddha treated everyone with kindness, compassion, joy, and giving. He didn't exclude or give up on anyone. Even though I'm not the Buddha, I want to learn to be like the Buddha.
Right now I'm like two people. One is still saving living beings everywhere. As for this person who is me, I don't care about him. I will not help myself.
An Excerpt from the Venerable Master's
December 4-5, 1994