Bow to the Buddha Within

Master Hsuan Hua

"Real wealth is the stopping of the mind and the end of thoughts.
Real fields of blessings are the complete severance of selfish desires."

Everyday we are cultivating to become Buddhas, but each day we failed to learn from the real Buddha. We spend our efforts on what is outside and not seek the fundamentals of being a Buddha in our inherent nature. The fundamentals to being a Buddha is just to end all selfish desires completely so that the light of wisdom that we are original replete with will manifest.

With selfish desires, there is no wisdom. With wisdom, there are no selfish desires. Wisdom is not apart from selfish desires and selfish desires are not apart from wisdom.

Afflictions are Bodhi; birth and death is nirvana. If you can be free from afflictions while encountering afflictions, you’ve got the resolve for Bodhi. You want to end the cycle of birth and death. If you can create no more birth and death, that is nirvana. Everyone is born and everyone dies. Cut off selfish desires and you will end your births and deaths. Without cutting off your selfish desires, your births and deaths will not end.

Selfishness refers to things that you know but other people don’t know. Selfish desires show and let other people know about the good parts of you and hide the bad, hoping that others will be fond of you. This is called selfish desires.

Selfish desires drive you to lie. You force yourself to say what you shouldn’t say. You reverse right and wrong, make no distinctions between what’s crooked and straight, and mix up that which is black or white because selfish desires are supporting you. Without selfish desires, the light of your inherent wisdom will be exposed. No need to search for it outside, look for everything within. While we’re in this world, we should reflect and learn from our every action and every move, every word and every behavior. We should look for all the answers within.

"Do not do onto others what you don’t want done onto you." Don’t lay what you dislike on other people. The ancients said, "As stupid as someone is, he is clear in criticizing others and blurry and forgiving with oneself." This is saying that although someone is extremely stupid, he can list other people’s bad habits in an orderly fashion and with good reason. He can talk on and on with flowing eloquence when it comes to other people’s faults and gossip; but he is dizzy with what he does. He is casual and unclear. It doesn’t matter even if he is wrong. He will even go as far as to conceal his mistakes. This is selfish desire ordering you to do the wrong things so that you always forgive yourself.

"If one were intelligent, one would criticize oneself the way one criticizes others, forgive others the way one would forgive oneself. Why worry then that one will not reach the level of sages?"

If one were really smart and talented, "one would criticize oneself the way one criticizes others". You should reflect and look within. Forgive others the way you forgive yourself. "Do not do onto others what you don’t want done onto you."

Be eager to act on humaneness and act boldly for justice. Do these and you will definitely reach the position of holy sages. If you can do what is right, furthermore, you can become a Buddha in this very life too.

Everybody, it’s better to bow to the Buddha within rather than bowing to the Buddha outside. If you respect yourself and make yourself like a Buddha or Guanyin Bodhisattva all the time, then you are really bowing to the Buddhas and really repenting, really being mindful of the Buddha.

If instead, you only learn some catchy phrases and do what other people do, such as bow to the Buddhas because others are bowing to the Buddhas, recite the Buddhas name because others are reciting the Buddha’s name, or feel full when other people eat, but you do not end birth and death while others continue in this cycle.

You must do this seriously and in a down to earth manner. I heard people say that there was a Bhikshuni named Fuhui (Blessings and Wisdom) in Taiwan. This Bhikshuni was married at twenty, had two kids and became widowed at the age of 25. She saw through the world of senses and left the homelife. She didn’t dress well, didn’t eat well and didn’t stay in a nice house.

She did the work of cleaning the monastery. She never told people her name. She gave away great compassion water for curing the sick. She didn’t talk and didn’t take anyone’s money. This is how she cultivated. If you can cultivate like this, you are really cultivating. Otherwise, no matter how large a temple may be, how much money it has, one cannot end the cycle of birth and death.

Everyone should try to do their best with the basics. Check and see if you have let go of your greed, let go of your hatred and let go of your delusion. Monastics must diligently cultivate precepts, samadhi and wisdom, quell greed, hatred and delusion. Have you done it, really? If you have, then you have not wasted being a human being this time around, leaving home this time round, being a disciple of the Buddha this time.

We must shine on ourselves and reflect, look for the answers within. The work of looking within is to apply that which one would do onto oneself to others. One must "really recognize one’s faults and not discuss the faults of others. Others’ faults are just my own, what we all share is great compassion."

Why do I say this? It is because I see lots of people in pain, especially due to strange illnesses. When these people are sick, they blame gods and people. They claim that god isn’t fair: how come I am the only one who is sick and other people are not sick. They are indignant because they don’t know that there are prior causes and future consequences to this.

Having taken so many lives in their past lives, such as through hunting, netting fish, fishing, killing chickens, killing cows, killing lambs, killing dogs and many others, this type of people experience lots of bizarre illnesses in this life. (10/11/89 at Hualian, Taiwan)

Source:       Apr 30, 2006