As the Abbot Explained
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Gems To You
Ask a Monk
Ask yourself if you have a temper, ignorance, and afflictions. If you
have these, it’s because you don’t have enough virtue. Ignorance, anger,
and afflictions are the roots of suffering. Enduring suffering puts
an end to suffering. Enjoying blessings uses up blessings. (Mem. V2.Pg.176)
Harboring the least bit of attachment creates obstructions. When we
are obstructed, then we cannot transcend the triple realm. When we finally
don’t want anything at all, we will have everything. Our wisdom will
become apparent. Our spiritual penetrations will manifest. (Sur. Roll
The bliss of still extinction – the principle of emptiness – is tens
of millions of times more intense than the bliss derived from external
physical gratification. If you want that experience, though, you must
first stop your involvement with external sensory experiences. Otherwise,
the True Emptiness within you cannot manifest. (Sur.roll 9)
Due to the influence of the six sense faculties – eyes, ears,
nose, tongue, body and mind – people are reborn in the hells or become
hungry ghosts or animals. It’s also due to the functioning of the six
senses that people become asuras or are reborn in the heavens or as
humans. Actually, the six sense faculties aren’t in control; it’s just
that we don’t know how to use them. The master is within everyone’s
own nature, the bright nature of enlightenment. This master is also
known as the inherent Buddha-nature. When it is in charge, proper thoughts
manifest, and one is free and at ease, not obstructed by anything. But
once this nature is covered up by even a single thought of ignorance,
a dull darkness is erroneously stirred up; the six sense faculties then
become the masters and take control. (Dh.Talks v7 pg149)
Fundamentally, consciousness is not of eight kinds, although there are
eight kinds in name. We could say that there is a single headquarters
with eight departments under it. Although there are eight departments,
they are controlled by the headquarters. The eight are one, and the
one is eight. The eight don’t contradict the one, and the one doesn’t
contradict the eight. From the one, the eight come forth. From eight,
they can also return to one. That’s the consciousness. (Dh.Tk.V2pg63)
Why do people fear ghosts? Because ghosts are grotesque and frightening,
menacing and capable of killing people. Fear of ghosts is a form of
the fear of death. If you didn’t fear death, you wouldn’t fear anything.
You wouldn’t be afraid of ghosts, spirits, goblins, demons, monsters,
or anything at all. If you are afraid of something, you cannot be proper.
You can attain proper samadhi and reception only if you have no fear.
If you’re in the Land of Ultimate Bliss but do nothing but cry all day
long, then there’s no bliss. If you’re in the Saha World and you’re
happy from morning to night, then you’re like the Bodhisattvas of the
Ground of Happiness. The principle here is that "everything is
made from the mind alone." (Sur. Roll 9)
The Sixth Patriarch Sutra: "When there is proper mindfulness, the
Buddha is in the house. When there is deviant mindfulness, the demon
is in the hall." A genuine cultivator does not talk or laugh casually.
You should not move or act casually. ( Mem. V.2. Pg. 147)
These diseases which are hard to cure do not happen by chance. Behind
them, there is a ghost with a grievance who wants the person’s life
in payment. So now I see a lot of little ghosts everywhere, trying to
make people pay with their lives or causing them to suffer various strange
diseases. These little ghosts were fetuses who were aborted before they
had a chance to develop into complete human beings, so they are very
ruthless. Why are they so malicious? Because you killed them first,
and now they want to take revenge. Diseases caused by vengeful ghosts
cannot be cured no matter what kind of doctor, Chinese or Western. (Memorial
V. 2, Page 173)
Good deeds that are done hoping others will see are not truly good.
Evil done fearing others will find out is great evil. (Mem. V2.Pg.176)
One can establish one’s own destiny and seek one’s own blessings. Calamities
and blessings do not come on their own; people themselves bring them
about." (Dh.Talks V7.pg5)
Now that you know that the Vajra Treasury Bodhisattvas will not protect
those who violate the precepts, you can understand why disasters are
still likely to happen to people who profess faith but do not practise.
But if you can cultivate according to the Dharma and uphold the precepts,
and if you can read and recite the Shurangama Mantra, then the eighty-four
thousand Vajra Treasury Bodhisattvas will always be with you to lend
their aid, so that you can quickly get out of the revolving wheel of
the six paths. (Sur-mantra vol.5-pg61)
Your not having any deluded thoughts is already the Pure Land. See how
convenient, how immediate it is! Simply clean up your deluded
thoughts, and you’ll be in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. When you
have no deluded thoughts, then you have no afflictions. That freedom
from afflictions, that happiness, is itself the Land of Ultimate Bliss.
So, don’t go running all over the place!
The Pure Land teaches very
clearly, "One definitely creates it; one doesn’t really go anywhere."
You create the Pure Land yourself by revealing the light of your own
The Pure Land is in the
Amitabha is in one’s own nature.
You needn’t look outside.
Ordinary people think that the Pure Land is outside, but if you really
want to study and cultivate Buddhism, you must understand that the Land
of Ultimate Bliss and the Saha world are not beyond this very thought.
A defiled thought is the Saha world, while a pure thought is the Land
of Ultimate Bliss.
Don’t be attached to the
fact of your teaching living beings or being reborn in the Land of Ultimate
Bliss. Recite the Buddha’s name without worrying about whether you will
be reborn there. Just cultivate sincerely. If you are free of affliction,
then the Land of Ultimate Bliss is right here, read-made. If you become
afflicted, then you are in the Saha world, with its unspeakable suffering.
The myriad things are speaking dharmas. If you understand, they are
speaking the Buddhadharma, the transcendental Dharma; if you do not
understand, then they are speaking worldly dharma, defiling dharma.
In this way everything is contained within a single thought of your
mind. When you have wisdom, you’ll be able to readily solve any kind
of problem; when you don’t have wisdom, there are obstacles everywhere.
(Dh.Talks v7 pg151)
The "intent" is the discriminating mind, the sixth consciousness.
Not only does the "mind" make discriminations, it is filled
with idle thoughts. The six consciousnesses can also be said to be a
perceptive nature. That is, from the six sense organs – eyes, ears,
nose, tongue, body, and intent – the functions of seeing, hearing, smelling,
tasting, feeling, and knowing arise. When people commit offenses, they
do it with the six sense organs. When they cultivate, they also do it
with the six sense organs. If you can remain unperturbed by external
states, then you are cultivating. If you are turned by external states,
then you will fall. (Dh.Tk. V2.Pg63)
During this meditation session, you want to set aside your cleverness
and your petty intelligence. You shouldn’t assume that you understand
everything there is to know. If you think you know everything already,
then you haven’t truly understood the Buddhadharma. That is to say,
"Great wisdom resembles stupidity." On the surface, a truly
wise person appears to know nothing at all. In fact, he understands
all things. That is to say, he may be very dull regarding petty business,
but he can understand truly great matters. Only someone like that can
have outstanding accomplishment. (Dh.Tk.V3. Pg.73)
The Dharma-door of
Chan meditation points directly to the human mind. It teaches us to
see our nature and to become a Buddha. It is also called "the sudden
teaching." The teaching of sudden enlightenment is brought
to success by cultivating the gradual teaching. There’s a saying that
goes: "One may suddenly be enlightened to the principles, but then
one puts the principles into practice gradually. "Now in our daily
deportment, as we walk, sit, stand, and lie down, we are cultivating
gradually. Then in the future, there will be a day when we truly understand
and we suddenly get enlightened. That’s what we mean by sudden. The
sudden, in fact, is not apart from the gradual; and the gradual
also aids the sudden. (Dh.Tk.V3. Pg. 69)
People have been murdering one another and brewing up a poisonous enmity
which cannot be blotted out. When animals are killed, they harbor a
deep grudge. Right before they die, their hearts are filled with terror,
hatred, and vengefulness. The hatred they feel produces a kind of poison.
When people eat animal flesh, they are really eating poison! Although
they do not realize the harm at the time, eventually they develop all
kinds of strange and incurable diseases. This hateful energy reaches
to the heavens. It is a greater threat than the atomic bomb, for it
cannot be seen, but it can wipe out the human race. (Dharma Talks, V6.pg57)