Cultivate Buddhadharma diligently to leave suffering and obtain bliss

(Continued from issue #261)

Instructional Talk by Dharma Master Heng Gwei on November 25, 2016,
during Lunch at Gold Wheel Sagely Monastery Emperor Liang's Jeweled Repentance Dharma Assembly

The present time is an era of chaos and disarray. Families fight with families; nations fight with nations. The world is filled with endless cacophony. Therefore, an emphasis on education is more important than ever. The teaching of Buddhadharma and the eight virtues are considerably the appropriate measures needed to reverse this tide. However, this task is extremely challenging.

In the City of Dharma Realm, Dharma Master Shr is determined to achieve the administration of education. Even though there are currently only 16 students at CDR, we can see a glimpse of hope from the way the students are learning. One of the students has been at CDR since she was five years old. One day I was teaching the class on Buddhism, and she asked me, "What is 'karma'?" Why am I recounting this particular situation? This year when I went to Tainjin Nankai University to visit a former teacher of mine, Professor Yeh Jiaying, I ran into an old classmate who was now a college professor. This old classmate asked me the same question, "What is 'karma'?". The fact that a five year-old and a college professor asked the same question makes me feel that an education grounded in Buddhadharma and the eight virtues is extremely important.

I am hereby calling all of you to action. For those of you who can retire early, please do so and help with education at CDR. For those of you who have completed higher education and have free time outside of your personal obligations, please serve as a volunteer teacher at CDR and demonstrate the potential of volunteer teaching. This is the magic pill (solution) the Venerable Master prescribed for this world, and we must have faith. In addition, we must take action and put forth effort. Together, let us work towards realizing the Venerable Master's education objectives.

Everyone can see and feel the chaos around this world íV things are in disarray and upside-down. For many years, the Venerable Master had tirelessly taught us; he never took a break despite toiling in sweat and blood. Had it not been for the Venerable Master's teaching, we ourselves may be in a similar state of chaos and disarray. Even though we are not that much better off than others, at least we know what is right and what is wrong: we can tell black from white, and we understand our coming and going. Knowing this already makes us extremely fortunate. Had it not been for the Venerable Master's teachings, we would have been just as confused as everyone else in this chaotic world, crying in the sea of suffering, yet not knowing why we are suffering and how to end suffering. Returning to the shore is not easy, simply because we don't have any sense of direction due to our karmic obstructions. Our heavy karmic obstacles pull us away from the shore. Hence, we have to listen to and study Buddhadharma and draw near the Triple Jewel. Akin to how one softens beans by soaking them in water, we have to immerse ourselves in dharma water to lessen our karmic obstacles so that we can return to the shore.

I am calling upon all of you to value the teachings of the eight virtues and Buddhadharma. In fact, Buddhadharma is not hard to fathom. However, we need to be pragmatic. We have to start with what's in front of us. It's no use talking about the mystical and the mysterious. Do not skip the step right in front of us and aspire to jump several steps ahead. That's not being pragmatic íVthat's aiming too high. I want to share with all of you some excerpts from the Venerable Master's instructional talk.

The Venerable Master said, "When learning the Buddhadharma, do not be inquisitive and brash. An ordinary mind is the Way. The law of humans comes from the earth; the law of earth comes from heaven; the law of heaven comes from the Way; the Way accords with nature. If you force something to occur, you do not accord with the Way. Therefore, whatever we do, we should follow the course of nature and should not make things up. Some people have been learning Buddhadharma all their lives, yet their greed stands larger in size than anyone else's. I don't know what kind of Buddhism they're learning. When studying Buddhism, you should follow the course of nature every time, everywhere,

and under all situations. You should neither have a mind of greed and contention, nor a mind that forces things to happen. Do not study Buddhism in one hand, and in the other hand, grip ulterior motives. Do not be selfish and do not seek personal benefits. The most important point is to not lie. If we do not lie, then we have planted the roots of honesty. Those of you who have parents should practice filial piety. Those who have siblings should live together in harmony and not quarrel. When family members quarrel with each other, the warmth and joy of the home dissipate. Look at the world now. Every country and every family is fragmented. Families are shattered and dispersed; family members cannot get along in harmony. A man and a woman should dwell togetheríV the greatest of human relations. That is, live under one roof in harmony. Otherwise, if you quarrel and bicker everyday, you may have the structure of a family but not the warmth and happiness of the family."

"Not being happy means to not be content with what you have. Some family members disapprove of each other and are dissatisfied for being born into such a family. Filled with resentment, they start blaming everyone for their lot. This leads to divorce. When a father doesn't behave like a father, a mother doesn't behave like a mother, and a child doesn't behave like a child, quarreling and bickering will pervade the family, eliminating the possibility for harmony. Eventually, the family will drift apart, in mindfulness and in their sense of virtue, ending in divorce. Look. How many people are currently divorced in the world? There are more people who are getting divorced than getting married. Divorce, per se, does not matter. However, the process of divorces wreaks havoc in all nations globally. If you trace the cause of deterioration in the world, you would see that it starts with husbands and wives not getting along. Thus, we continue to witness further natural disasters and calamities."

(To be continued ...)