There was a man from Northeast China. I told him to recite Buddhist scriptures.
He was unable to do so initially， but he liked Totem readings. He said，“Master, your reading is really accurate”. So I said to him, “Take this string of prayer beads. It’s my gift for you, you can wear it around your wrist”. He did so and asked, “Is this of any use?” I told him it could bless him and help him grow in wisdom. He used to bully his wife at home. After some time he came and said to me, “Master, one day I lost my temper again. As soon as I raised my hand and try to hit my wife, I saw the prayer beads around my wrist, and put my hand down”. I told him,” Is this not wisdom? After wearing the beads, you have wisdom now. You know our mouths were not just for eating. They are for explaining, to explain things to others, to clarify, to communicate. Our hands are not meant for hitting people”. He learnt to develop wisdom. Therefore, we should understand how to skilfully apply the Dharma to bring about effective transformation.
When it comes to practising Buddhism, whenever we give rise to a thought, we must think like a Bodhisattva. We must cultivate a pure mind. What is the arising of thoughts? As soon as an unwholesome thought begins to arise in the mind, “Oh, no! I mustn’t have this thought, it will cause me harm”. “Oh, no! Misfortune will befall me if I think this way”. Respond this way each time a thought arises. Let me tell you, if you want to become a successful man and you are going to secure a major contract, you must not conceive of any lustful thought. If you do, you will not be able to get the contract signed. So when many people do business, they must remind themselves, “I must stay away from lust. The Master has said that ill luck will befall those involved in sexual misconduct. Ill luck will cause your business to go bust. How do I feed the staff in my company?” So he managed to exercise self-restraint. He was subdued by the sheer weight of his responsibility. Hence, he observes the precepts.
As I’ve told you earlier, precepts can help to plug your merits and virtues from leaking away. Say you are lucky today, you stop the leakage by observing the precepts. Bodhisattvas are very happy, you are very happy too. Thus, we think the way a Bodhisattva thinks. We must think like a Buddha whenever we give rise to a thought. Over time, there will be a practice place in your heart. So I hope you all within your thoughts and actions, maintain a Bodhisattva’s practice place. When you frequently have such a place in your heart, we say that practising Buddhism requires a practice place, where Bodhisattvas can come frequently. If you frequently have a practice place within your mind, it’s like an airport, if you have this airport, airplanes can come to your airport and land. When you have a Bodhisattva’s practice place in your heart, Bodhisattvas can often come into your heart. Then you will always have Bodhisattvas and Buddhas in your heart. If a person has Bodhisattvas and Buddhas in mind, how could they not be successful? How could they not be fortunate and blessed?
I’ll tell you a story during the Buddha’s time today.
The Buddha was then staying at the Bamboo Grove in Rajagaha. One day, the Buddha told his disciples, “In this world, there are four types of good horses. The first type, once you ride it and pull on the reins, as soon as you raise the whip, it sees the whip’s shadow and immediately kicks into gear, whether to speed up or slow down, turn left or right, it would follow the rider’s will (You only have to raise the whip, the whip doesn’t have to touch it, it will run forward on its own). This is the first type of good horse”.
The Buddha went on to tell His disciples, “There is another type of good horse that is unable to detect the whip’s shadow（There is another type of good horse， it can’t see the shadow of the whip when it is raised), but if your whip, slightly grazes its hairs or tail, it will instantly be alerted (It is alerted to sense the rider’s intention), whether to go fast or slow, turn left or right. This is the second type of horse”.
The Buddha said to his disciples again, “There’s another horse that is unable to notice the shadow of the whip, neither can it feel the whip grazing its hair and tail to sense the rider’s intentions. It has to be whipped to sense whether to go fast or slow, turn left or right. This is the third type of good horse”.
“Disciples,” the Buddha continued, “if a horse is unable to be like the first three types to understand the rider’s intentions, it must have an iron awl, injure its skin and bones before it is able to sense the rider’s intentions. And this driver of the cart has to lead the horse and cart on the road, only then can the horse follow the rider’s wishes, whether to go fast or slow, turn left or right. These are the four types of horses in the world”.