THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
Q : Will the future savior of China be a Buddhist?
A : Since he will be a savior, he will be considered Buddhist even though he may not be. The reason is that he will relieve the suffering of humankind and will help people attain bliss. If he were not a real savior, he would not be a Buddhist even though he might call himself one.
Q : This country is over-populated. Does the present birth control policy violate the law of cause and effect?
A : Being over-populated is the same as being under-populated. I think a national policy such as “one child only” is wrong. Since each family can only have one child, eventually everyone will be male. How can a country of only men and no women procreate? This policy will mean the extinction of a country and the human race in the future. To really manage a country well, [the government] should allow each couple to have two babies. Two kids can keep each other company and they can be a boy and a girl. If they were both males, one can be exchanged for a female from a family with only female babies, and vice versa. It is perfectly all right and legal to adopt a son-in-law into the family. However, if people were to have too many babies the way pigs give birth to litters of piglets, people would experience a shortage of food.
Q : What is the reason for the war in the Middle East?
A : Reincarnated asuras insist on killing and setting fires.
Q : Why are there so many earthquakes nowadays?
A : Because people have bad tempers.
Q : How do wars come about?
A : Wars occur because we are violent within. Wars occur because our minds are not at peace.
Q : How do we stop warfare?
A : Being gentle and kind is the most fundamental solution to the ending of warfare.
Q : Will children of divorced parents be come successes?
A : Excellent question! Don’t you see that there are children with problems everywhere? Their parents are to be blamed for not being responsible enough to teach and discipline their offspring. Children become wayward because there’s no coordination between education at home and education at school. Both sides have failed. Young people are so controlled by television and computer that they lose their freedom. Freedom is widely touted in the Western society; but in my view, this type of freedom is superstitious, misconstrued, unreasonable, and totally not free.
Q : Most people say, for good fengshui (geomancy), we should: hang a mirror at the front door, have green plants on the left side of the room, hang two swords above the owner’s bed, and hang wind chimes along the hall ways. Is it so?
A : 1. Mirrors symbolize purity, implying that as we leave our residence we are physically pure. The mirror is said to purify in much the same way a broom is used to sweep the floor to remove dirt. Mirrors also symbolize clarity, the idea being that we become clear about phenomena and noumena. With that clarity, we are content to accept life as it is, and are free from greed and seeking. That’s the fengshui principle behind installing mirrors. Unfortunately, most ignorant people believe in diabolical ideas, thinking that demons won’t dare to invade their homes by installing mirrors that reflect demons. Simply by thinking in this way, demons have already taken a hold of them.
2. Foliage are just decorations.
3. The sword of wisdom slashes away emotional ties. But one needs to have self-control. Otherwise, a man and a woman may each end up with a sword in hand as they challenge each other. Demons may not have appeared if we had not hung those swords. But once we have hung them up, demons come to challenge you. You never know who will win or lose.
4. Wind chimes symbolize the process of withering away, meaning that the family will be on the decline, wilting away by the day.
Anyhow, fengshui actually comes from our minds. By being kind, open and honest, we will find that things work out for the best. Even negatives will become positives. When we are unkind, everything will turn out poorly; even positives will become negatives. That is why the Buddha said, “Everything is made from the mind alone.” Those of old in China said, “Everyone believes that the excellent grave site is in the mountains. Little do they know that the best site is that square inch that is their mind.” Street quacks argue forcefully and unreasonably, developing incorrect theories to fool ignorant men and women. What a pity! What a pity!
Q : The phenomena of homosexuality and unwed mothers are causes for concern. How should parents educate their children and themselves in the midst of such social disorder?
A : This is a very good question. The reason that society now faces these issues is because “Fathers do not act like fathers and mothers do not act like mothers.” Nowadays parents have children because they enjoy sex, not because they consider children important. They only know how to make babies, but not how to teach them. Couples divorce on a whim, whereupon children become fatherless and motherless. The real cause of these problems is that married couples don’t know how to be married and parents don’t know how to parent. The world would be free of these problems if parents would educate their children by following the example of Mencius’ mother. She moved three times to find an environment suitable for her son’s education.
Q : Our parents gave us our bodies. But should I be filial though they were cruel to me when I was young?
A : “The more they love you, the more they criticize you.” Both of them hoped that you would become a success. They were afraid that you would take the wrong path.
Q : Why are women underprivileged?
A : Who says women are underprivileged? The men in this world love women.
Q : What should we do if others libel us when we try to serve our community?
A : Work even harder if people libel you when you work for the community. It’s not really genuine service if you were to stop it because of libel.
Q : How do we improve our relationships with people, especially not having others talk behind our backs at the workplace?
A : If you didn’t do anything bad, then the person who talks behind your back is wrong. But if you did do something bad so that it’s a juicy topic for gossip, then the more they talk about you, the more you deserve it.
Q : Dharma Master, what do you think of this prediction: the human race will become extinct as a result of a major disaster at the end of this century or the beginning of the next century?
A : Well, the best would be not to come back in the next century. Why are you bothering with this? You may remember the events of this century, but you will forget them by the time you are born in the next century. For instance, you remembered to ask this question now, but you will forget what you know in the next century. How is that useful?
Q : The number of calamities in the world is on the rise. How do we eradicate them to help others and ourselves?
A : There would be no calamities if we were to not get mad, not fight, and not cheat and not hurt each other.
Q : Why are there poor people?
A : Poor people do not have blessings in this life because in their previous lives they did not do good deeds to earn merit and virtue, they did not sow any roots of goodness, they always tried to take advantage of others, and they fretted over their gains and losses.
Q : How do we help sick people?
A : You should cure your own sicknesses before you try to cure other people’s sicknesses.
Q : I heard that you recently met one of the presidential candidates in the next election. Did he ask you to predict his chances of winning the election?
A : No. I just told him to be a good presi dent it would be appropriate for him to uphold the six ideals at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas: no fighting, no greed, no seeking, no selfishness, no pursuing personal advantage and no lying. A good president would uphold these six principles.
Q : Venerable Master, you said that China will improve after it reaches its worst. Exactly how long will that take?
A : There is no set time as it all depends on people’s minds. We need to see what the Chinese people will do.
Q : Given the prospect of Taiwan’s future, how should we cultivate to avert our collective karma?
A : Do not do anything evil and do everything that is good.
Q : Master, did you know ahead of time about the China Airlines plane crash on October 26? How do we avoid future disasters?
A : First of all, ask yourself if you knew about it or not. If you did, others would have too. If you did not, why would you expect others to know about it?
Q : There are two possible reasons why people insult me: 1. I insulted them in a past life and so they insult me in this life. 2. They are sowing bad causes now. How should I think about this?
A : It’s okay for you to think that you are facing the consequences. You should not imagine that other people are sowing negative effects for the future. If you have that thought, you will be developing your unwholesomeness. Even if they were really sowing unwholesome causes, don’t think about it that way. In so thinking you will have sown some unwholesome causes too. Therefore, this is not a good method. It’s no problem if you just don’t think about it.
Q : I am the only one in the family who is studying Buddhism. How can I eliminate the obstacles so that the entire family become Buddhists and benefit from the Dharma?
A : Just do things sincerely and they will naturally be moved to change.
Q : Venerable Master, could you provide some instructions for your disciples?
A : For peace a country and the world to maintain peace, we must have a foundation of decency between men and women. How can the world be at peace if husbands, wives, and children do not act their parts?
I beseech husbands and wives to live up to their responsibilities, take good care of their children, and do not divorce. Once we have harmony in our families, there will be peace in the land where we live. Furthermore, I must ask you not to have abortions. Just think, so many unborn babies become angered souls. So many little ghosts everywhere are seeking opportunities to return to life. Consequently, how can a society be peaceful? These baby ghosts are hard to deal with and only virtuous people who are not greedy for money can liberate them. How can societies be peaceful when karmic offenses are being committed everywhere?
Q : As an overseas Chinese, I often want to help China but find myself helpless. Please tell me what I can do for my fellow citizens in China.
A : You should try your best to do good deeds. You should not be narrow-minded and think only about helping Chinese people or certain individuals. You should help anyone who experiences hardship and difficulties. More importantly, do not get upset. You are helping China by being a good person and by changing your behavior. Since you are Chinese, your good behavior will add to China’s integrity.
Q : Someone told me that my younger brother is a jinx to my mother. He will be a threat to her life and that he should not live under the same roof as my mother. Is there a way to solve this problem?
A : I don’t understand these problems, as I am a monk, not a street quack.
Q : My husband is having an extramarital affair. What should I do?
A : Recite the Heart Sutra more often.
Q : No more desire means no more trouble. How would this world advance if there were no more desires? What would the impetus be for scientific investigation and technological inventions. How do we control desire?
A : It is okay to invent things that help others but not the other way around. We are often remiss about what is beneficial and what is harmful. To invent things blindly creates suffering. For example, the pursuit of scientific invention has poisoned people and made them numb. What good is this type of invention?
Q : How should I help others?
A : Quietly help from behind the scenes.
Q : How do people who work in the area of law save others?
A : They must be fair, incorruptible, and accept no bribes as they serve the public.
Q : Master, some single mothers have been the cause of a lot of social issues, such as abortion... I don’t know whether the Master has any views or recommendations on these questions.
A : Most young people today enjoy danc ing, movies, and singing. They enjoy eating, drinking, and being merry; therefore they lose their humane nature. Having lost their capacity to be humane, they don’t even know they’re human beings. People should be doing human-like things, but they just do ghost-like things, being secretive and vio lating the rules. They want to try it before marriage. As a result, children are born out of wedlock.
Q : In a family, how should husband and wife relate? What kind of human relations are proper?
A : Husbands and wives should regard one another with respect. Children born from couples like this have the potential to become national leaders. Children of couples who do not regard each other with mutual respect have the potential to become homeless.