What is Buddhadharma? Buddhadharma is simply worldly dharma, but it's the kind that most people are unwilling to use. Worldly people are always bustling around and harried. All this activity stems from selfishness to protect one's life and possessions. Buddhadharma, on the other hand, is unselfish and public-spirited, and attends to benefitting others. As we learn the Buddhadharma, our every action should entail our concern for others. We should let go of our ego. We should practice unselfishness, having regards for the welfare of others and avoid bringing affliction to others. These are the principles of Buddhadharma. However, most people do not clearly understand these principles. As a result, within Buddhist circles we find contentions, hassles and strife. We find an atmosphere no different from that of ordinary worldly people, even to the extent of being worse. Such people study Buddhism on one hand and create offenses on the other. They do good deeds, and in the next breath destroy the merit and virtue they've earned. Instead of advancing the cause of Buddhism, such behavior actually harms it. The Buddha referred to such people as "parasites on the lion, feeding off the lion's flesh."
As Buddhist disciples, we cannot expect any results from our cultivation if we're selfish and self-profiteering, unable to put things down and see through our attachments. As Buddhists, we should:
To understand thoroughly Buddhism's true principles, we must first practice patience under insult and giving in order to attain accomplishment. We must turn ourselves around and be different from ordinary people. Do not coast along the turbid currents of the world. Cultivating the Way simply means to "turn ourselves around." What is that? It means to "let others have what is favorable and endure the unfavorable ourselves." It is renouncing the petty self for the perfection of the greater self.
All who have taken refuge with me are like the flesh and blood of my own body. Any piece of flesh that gets cut, hurts me just the same. Any part that bleeds, hurts my constitution. Because of this, all of you must work in unity. In order for Buddhism to flourish, you must withstand taking a loss that others are not willing to take. You must endure the insults that others cannot endure. You must be kind-hearted and true in your actions. When you are not being true, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are aware of it. No one can cheat them. All of you should introspect your own faults and earnestly rectify your misdeeds. Truly recognize where in the past you have been upside-down and where your behavior has deviated from the principle. Be authentic. Forget about yourself. Offer your services to Buddhism and the community.
In this world, it is a commonplace to see intricacies and dissensions within organizations and societies. We must rectify this kind of situation in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, in Gold Mountain Monastery, in Gold Wheel Monastery and in all divisions of Dharma Realm Buddhist Association. Of course, we cannot expect perfection immediately. Nonetheless, we should have a step-by-step plan of action until we reach the ultimate point of perfection. Then, in thought after thought, we must maintain this wholesome behavior and maintain our resolve to propagate Buddhism and have Buddhism flourish. Every Buddhist disciple should take this as his/her own responsibility, and not pass this responsibility onto others. We should have the notion that 'If Buddhism fails to flourish, it is because I haven't fulfilled my responsibility.' If we can forge ahead this way, then in the near future, Buddhism will certainly flourish and spread to every corner of the world!
As Buddhist disciples, we beseech the Buddha's' blessings every day. We pray that the Buddha will help us get rich, rise in status, or attain wisdom. We only know to seek the Buddha's help for our own benefit. Yet, in retrospect, have we contributed anything to Buddhism? Have we brought forth a genuine resolve? This is where we need to do constant introspection. When we took refuge with the Triple Jewel, we made the Four Vast Vows of Bodhisattvas:
1. Living beings are numberless, I vow to save them all. Ask yourself, "Have I saved any living being?" If yes, then save a few more. If not, then quickly resolve to rescue living beings.
2. Afflictions are infinite, I vow to cut them off. Afflictions are endless, but we must reverse them and transform them into Bodhi. If you have not done so, then quickly turn them around!
3. Dharma-doors are measureless, I vow to learn them all. Ask yourself, "Have I learned the Buddhadharma? Have I done anything for Buddhism? Am I learning the Buddhadharma dogmatically and not able to apply it pragmatically? Am I studying the Buddhadharma in an 'on-and-off' mode íV on for one day and off for ten days?
4. The Buddha's Way is supreme, I vow to realize it. There is no dharma on earth that surpasses the Buddha's Way, nor one that is more ultimate. Have I truly resolve to accomplish Buddhahood? What's more, not only should we resolve for Buddhahood ourselves, but should resolve to take all living beings across to Buddhahood.
Look. In the past, Shakyamuni Buddha had "cultivated blessings and wisdom for three great asamkheya eons, and planted the seeds for fine hallmarks for one hundred kalpas." He gave up his life for half a verse of Dharma. How great his spirit was! His sincerity in seeking the Dharma was truly noble. We should all emulate his vigor. For about four years, I have been coming down to Gold Wheel Monastery in Los Angeles once a month. I feel that none of you has genuinely benefitted from the Dharma. You haven't truly experienced the greatness of the Buddhadharma. You are still along the perimeter of Buddhadharma and unable to enter the depths of the dharma. If we want Buddhism to flourish, we should start with our own self. We should bring forth sincerity and offer our vigor and diligence. Break free from the small circles that you have drawn yourself in. Take the Dharma Realm as your substance and Empty Space as your function! Follow the dharma "bring forth thoughts that linger nowhere." If every person could really do this, then Buddhism would truly flourish.
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