(Continued from issue #262)
"Why do natural calamities and disasters occur? It is because too many couples divorce, resulting in broken families. In these situations, parents fail to nurture their children to become productive members of society. Children from broken families tend to get in trouble more often than others because they grow up without proper guidance from their parents. Without proper parental guidance, they commit crimes and offenses such as murder, arson, and drug dealing. As a result, a nation fails to be the nation it ought to be; accordingly, the world is not how it ought to be. The origin of these problems lies in the failure of husbands and wives to manage family affairs, which often results in divorce and produces all these problems."
Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, fires, plagues, wars, and cataclysm often come and go without people realizing. The same can be said for accidents such as plane crashes, train derailment, and ships sinking in the ocean, which have caused just as many deaths and casualties. These major catastrophes are caused by divorce. Divorce goes against the natural order of yin and yang. When yin and yang become out of sync, everything becomes dysfunctional and abnormal."
If you want to know why the world deteriorates, you have to trace the cause back to its origin and analyze what starts the anomaly. It starts from discord between husband and wife and a lack of harmony in the family. Couples do not respect each other and do not see eye to eye. Nowadays, people talk of freedom. However, this notion of freedom often pulls them further from humanity, to a point where humans cannot even compare to animals, resulting in the downward spiral of this generation. All of you should internalize this message. Having studied Buddhadharma for decades or your entire life, you ought to know the fundamental cause of the world's deterioration.
Marital conflicts affect many aspects in life. On the one hand, it results in the absence of filial piety to one's parents and loyalty to one's country. On the other hand, it produces problematic kids. From either perspective, the result is abysmal; everything is interconnected. Everyone learning the Buddhadharma should understand the root cause of the world's decline. From the outside, it begins with problematic marriages. From the inside, it begins with people's minds turning evil. When people's minds turn evil, this results in their actions deviating from what is typical and leads to the contradiction of rules. This can be observed wherever you are. If the family is dysfunctional and family members quarrel, society will be chaotic and the nation will fail to produce talent.
It's extremely difficult to set up a proper education system, especially the education system advocated by the Venerable Master, which is education with an emphasis on volunteerism, ethics and morality, and Buddhism.
I remember when we started drawing up plans for the school at City of Dharma Realm. Dharma Master Shr made many phone calls to recruit volunteer teachers, many of these calls were made to lay people at Gold wheel Monastery.
I still vividly remember two exchanges. One volunteer said, "Dharma Master, please save your breath and say no more. It's impossible." But what's definitely possible is meeting King Yama. These two people are no longer with us in this world. There are things that we think are impossible. Nevertheless, when King Yama beckons us, we have to report to him. I feel we should really cherish our lives and treasure every opportunity to further our cultivation. Otherwise, once you miss it, the opportunity will be gone. And at the end of our lives, we will enter yet another cycle of transmigration.
Touching on this topic today reminds me of impermanence and the two laypeople who passed away. Whether young or old, we should treasure our lives and good roots. What can we do for this world? Having studied the Venerable Master's teaching all our lives, what can we do to repay his kindness?
While bowing the Emperor Liang's Jeweled Repentance, we came across the Patriarch's teaching, "When we make offerings to the Triple Jewel, draw near to the Triple Jewel, build stupas and monasteries, practice all kinds of offerings, even though they are offerings, in the end we ourselves receive the blessings for making such offerings."To repay the Buddha's kindness truly and realistically, we have to cultivate according to the Buddha's teachings. The Buddha does not need our offerings. The Buddha teaches us to bring forth our Bodhi mind, to walk the Bodhisattva path, to refrain from seeking comfort for ourselves. The Buddha vows to take living beings across the sea of suffering. The Venerable Master taught us the Six Great Principles, "no fighting, no greed, no seeking, no selfishness, no pursuing of personal advantage, and no lying." We should urge ourselves to try our best in following these principles.
Cause and effect is each individual's own business. No one but ourselves has to undergo the retribution for our own actions. Now that we have planted a solid cause, we will be able to reap a solid Bodhi fruit. During this period of bowing the Emperor Liang's Jeweled Repentance, every time we recite the repentance text, we have to remind ourselves to cherish our good roots and to plant solid Bodhi seeds of vajra. Do not waste time. Wasting time is wasting life. Amitabha.
(The End of the Article)