I often tell you, worldly vexations are akin to what the Sixth Patriarch Hui Neng said: “Bodhi is originally without any tree, the bright mirror is also not a stand; Originally there is not a single thing; where can the dust alight?”. We humans are intrinsically empty by nature. We come to this world with a mind devoid of anything. It’s the natural phenomena that arise later which fill our mind.
If your mind is filled with good thoughts, you will have a good mindset. Conversely, you will have a bad state of mind. “The bright mirror” here means your mind is like a mirror. Every day, I hope all of you will take out this mirror, to illuminate and see the emptiness of the Five Aggregates, to reflect upon the kindness, compassion and all the good qualities. This is how you instil the compassion and kindness in you. You will have these good qualities. On the contrary, if all you see is dust today, then your mind will be covered with dust. If your mind is originally clean and pure, how could there be any dust?
For example, your colleagues were arguing in the office, you didn’t pay much attention to them, because you are not a nosy person, no way that you are going to worry about what happened. No way you would let yourself be dragged into such tussles of self-interests. That’s why I said, “There is no place for dust to collect”.
You should gradually learn not to take too personally what others say. As Buddhist practitioners, there is Buddha in our heart. All worldly things are like dreams and bubbles; like the dew or a flash of lightning. Hence, guard your mind, and always be ready to help others. Do not take offence at what others say. Do not distort the truth.
Some people are selective in performing the act of giving, and they are also selective in their praise. They will praise those they like while throwing mean words at those they detest. They are the ones who are full of distracting thoughts and enmity. “Do not hate evildoers” is about harbouring no hatred nor anger towards bad people. For the bad people, don’t discern them or have feelings.
The compassion of Guan Yin Bodhisattva goes as far as feeling the suffering of others: ”Even if you are an evil person, I’d still want to save you”. “If you are a bad person as far as my ability allows, I’d still like to help you”.
In this world, there are many people, while helping others, they are also helping themselves, and that’s how they become the carefree ones in this world. As Buddhist practitioners, there are many under the influence of their prejudice, who think negatively of others. While holding on to their prejudice, they believe they are pondering and convinced that they are saving the world. They even believe that their theory is comprehensible to others.
Take a look around, there are many people who can’t speak clearly. When they talk to others they speak very quickly. Yet they think they speak very well. But at the end of their speech the other party often gazed at them in confusion, ”I don’t understand”. But if you ask the one who was speaking, they would think what they said was very clear. This is due to the differences in human consciousness.
I hope all Buddhist practitioners will always see hope and light. To be carefree and be able to transcend reality. If you often think: “Things will definitely get better in the future, I will improve further in the future and everything will only get better”. If you always think along this line, then in reality, you have surpassed yourself through practising Buddhism. This is what we call ‘transcendental dharma’. Take a look at Buddhist monks. They leave home because they have transcended themselves, as well as the worldly afflictions of fame and wealth. There is nothing that they want . They have renounced everything. Hence, they gain equanimity and peace of mind.
Buddhist practitioners should learn to forgive others. No matter how bad a person is or how they have hurt you or harmed you through others, you have to learn to let it go. Only then can you be truly happy. If you live in jealousy and hatred, your life will be in a downward spiral as your hatred grows. This is because in this world, let me tell you the truth in reality, we live in a world of sufferings. If you wish to be free from sufferings forever, the one and only way is to transcend the human world. Otherwise, in this human realm, there will only be sufferings for you.
People say cultivating the mind goes hand in hand with moral cultivation. What kind of cultivation ? There are four kinds of cultivations. Let me tell you what they are today.
Firstly, to endure, we have to be able to endure everything in life and to be able to get over it. As often mentioned in the traditional Chinese culture: “A moment’s patience is worth a hundred days’ suffering”. If you can exercise patience that very moment, after a few months, probably other people might not try to settle a score with you. Conversely, if you appear to have the upper hand over others, you scold them. Perhaps you manage to “save face” momentarily, but most likely the others might bear grudges against you in their heart, which may bring you future disaster. Again, “A moment’s patience is worth a hundred days’ suffering”. A person is able to exercise endurance, he is a wise person. Endurance is not a sign of cowardice.
The second moral cultivation is to be able to see through the nature of things. Someone may have hurt you today, if you are able to see through it:
“He did it unintentionally, I should forgive him” or “Though he was intentional, it might be my karma and was indebted to him in my past life”, or “I have only myself to blame for not getting this thing done in this lifetime, I sowed this seed of karma since a long time ago”.
So learn to calm down and see through the world of mortals, just as we learn to see through the things we did when we were young, which will never come back. Having seen through and come to terms with the reality of life you are still able to remain passionate about life, and love the life you are living.
I need to make use of this illusory life to practise true cultivation, and to carry out the role of Bodhisattvas in this human realm. I come to this world not to be troubled by vexations, neither have I come to bear the sufferings. I am here to liberate myself and to help others. With this mentality, you are able to “see through” the real nature of things.