the secrets OF HOW MASTER ATTAINED THE TAO
To the resident disciples,Hsihu Center, Formosa December 3, 1995.
Doyou know how I attained the Tao? It is because I have always beendoing everything for others. Your spiritual practice is stillblocked at the stage of keeping all the beautiful things to yourselfand grabbing all the delicious food for yourself to eat. You arereluctant to give things to others, and that is why you don'thave plenty. The truth is, the more we give the more we will have.You see I have given so much, so I have plenty of food - morethan I can eat. Therefore, I have stopped rendering aid recently,fearing that the blessed rewards will keep coming until I cannottake any more! (Master and everyone laugh.)
There are several secrets of how I attainedthe Tao. First, I am very considerate towards others. Second,I greatly respected my teachers. From primary school to high school,many teachers liked me. Perhaps it is because I respected themvery much, and they felt it within. Maybe I have something, Idon't know. Perhaps I have affinities with them.
After growing up, I followed many masters.Although they were not very enlightened, I still followed theirinstructions completely. There was not the least bit of disrespectin me - no resistance.
Do you think my masters treated me very well?No! They would sometimes scold me. Compared to our level now,they were just like primary school teachers, but then I was aprimary school student! They were not particularly nice to me.I helped and offered a lot to them, yet sometimes they would scoldme, or hurt me greatly with their words, saying that I was nothing.
For instance, after I was married, the firstwords that my female master said were: "You do not deserveto marry him." (Master laughs.) She said I didn't deserveto marry my husband. She said, "Only your girlfriend deservesto marry him." We had already married, but she still saidthese things.
I told my my master, "My girlfriend isa married woman. She got married before me. Otherwise, I wouldlisten to you and let them get together, as they deserve eachother more." From then on she ceased to comment further.However, I was not angry at all. I didn't say, "Master, howcan you speak like this?"
I feel you are different in this respect. Iam not blaming you, I just want you to know the secret.
The Difference Between Master AndDisciples
Sometimes, we think our spiritual practiceis very good already, because occasionally I send you out to givelectures. After coming back, you feel: "I have graduated.Master graduated in six months, I can make it in six years atthe most!" You become different after coming back! Consequently,you hurt yourself. You think you are very good, but you are notthat good!
I also think that you are very good, and thisis the strange thing! I am the greatest fool in the world, thereforeI am often hurt, frustrated, and disappointed. It is because Ialso think you are very good, so I cannot figure out the differencebetween you and me.
Sometimes I know. When I stay or work togetherwith you, then I realize there is really a big difference. Otherwise,I am not aware. If there is no work, I totally forget that youare disciples. We look alike and are of a similar age; some peopleare even older than I am. I cannot imagine the differences betweenyou and me. I think you are just like me, and we can understandeach other; so I keep on talking. In the end, no one understands,so I really cannot stand it. I sit there feeling very frustrated.It seems that I am the only one in the whole world who can understandmyself, and I really feel sorry.
Since ancient times, it seems that the enlightenedmasters can hardly communicate with people. I feel I am also oneof them. It can only be done with great effort. You don't understandeven very simple things; not until I have talked for a long time.You obstruct yourselves too much! You're too complicated - stillthinking that it should be like this or that. Very complicated,very complicated.
You don't understand, yet you don't want tolearn from others. You don't want to learn from the teacher forfear of losing face: "I can do it alone! Let me do it myself!",just like that, and then you make many mistakes.
With introspection, you will find many shortcomingsin yourself. I also check myself everyday, but I do not find anyfaults. (Master and everyone laugh.)
Completely Become A Tool Of God
Since I am totally devoted to doing God's work,I virtually have no choice. I cannot control my actions, or thesituation. Even if I dislike it very much, I still have to doit. Since I have offered all of myself, why should I keep anything?I cannot say, "I don't like this one because it doesn't suitmy character, and that thing will ruin my reputation and makeme look awful." This is not the way to do God's work.
Just like a mechanical shovel, it goes whereveryou direct it. It will dig wherever you direct it to dig. Themechanical shovel cannot say, "I am not in the mood today,I don't want to dig there." It must work in whatever wayit is operated to. It is only a tool, and so is Master. I havecompletely become a tool of God, with no individual existenceat all.
The moments that I treat you badly are actuallywhen I am treating you well. When I treat you nicely, it is stillhuman emotions, fearing that you cannot stand it! I think thatis the proper way to treat people, and you will feel more comfortablethat way. Actually, that is really "human" behavior.When I am really frank with you, very straightforward and withoutrestraint, then I am really treating you well - you're being handleddirectly by God.
However, you would have died long ago if youwere handled directly like this everyday. Not a single soul wouldremain here. So it is necessary to do things with a little ego.If I let God handle you everyday, even I could not stand it! Mybody and mind would not be able to take it, because they wouldbe used with too much intensity, too much!
If you kept stepping on the accelerator - didnot let the car rest or stop, and maintain a speed of 170 mpheven when turning a corner, that would be very exhausting, andyou would be very tense.
Now and then, we have to remember we're humansand relax a little. Have a barbecue, or chat about some lightheartedtopics, this is also very important. Just like a house, we canonly use it when it is empty inside; we cannot if filled withcupboards or valuable furniture.
Your Heart Must Be Simple And PureTo Attain The Tao
A character too rigid or too strong is notdesirable. It is not necessary to win every time. You should knowhow to be reasonable and flexible, instead of always trying toprevail over others, or become better than the teacher. It isgood to be better than the teacher, but it is still too early.At the moment, none of you are better than the teacher! I tellyou frankly, not that I am arrogant, but I want you to know thatyou have to introspect yourself, endeavor to adjust and trainyour inner wisdom and character, and find out where your shortcomingsare.
However, it is also bad to always hide behindyour shortcomings. It is too negative, too self-despising andtoo pessimistic. It is not enough just to know about our faults!We have to rectify them, stop doing them, and behave in the oppositeway to compensate for them.
Knowing your faults doesn't mean blaming yourself,shutting yourself in a cave, holding a "closed-in retreat"everyday in there; becoming a turtle after nine years and boringpeople to death when you come out. (Laughter) It doesn't meankeep blaming yourself, suffocating yourself; but you should tryto climb up and change, and act in the opposite way. This is realpenitence, instead of only punishing yourself with kneeling; thisis only part of it. The best repentance is to stop the negativequality altogether, act in the reverse way, and make positivecontributions. This is the secret to sainthood - the heart willbecome more simple and purer.
Even though now I say that it is useless worshippingthe wooden Buddha statues, I was very sincere in worshipping theBuddha ten years ago. Because I have worshipped enough, I knowit is useless. My masters told me to worship the Buddha and buya Buddha statue - any statue that I liked. I thought the MaitreyaBuddha was more magnanimous. I was right, I really need it now.(Master and everyone laugh.) He was also very cheerful. I hadgreater need for these qualities, so I bought a statue of MaitreyaBuddha.
That day, my masters held a ritual to welcomethe Buddha statue into my home. They burned incense, worshipped,and then told me to make a wish. I made only one wish: "Inthe future, if I could help anyone, I would be willing to do so,but please do not let me know consciously that I have helped."It has really come true now; I never know whom I have helped.My master said if the incense burns then curls, that means thewish will come true. It really curled, so I believed it worked!
My master said I also had to recite some sutrasat home. I wanted to chant the Medicine Buddha Sutra, but he wouldn'tlet me. He said, "You have not yet reached this level, justchant the Great Mercy Mantra." It was a long time after thatthat he gave me the Lotus Sutra to chant. They chanted very loudly,and asked me to do the same at home. I was also told to buy awooden fish (a round wooden instrument to accompany the chanting)and tap it everyday. I was very serious, and got up very earlyto do the chanting.
In the early morning, my throat was hoarse,so I had to drink plenty of water. The chanting was to be repeatedin the evening too. Usually, lay people are not that serious,and it was enough to chant once. However, I was very sincere then,and would do anything my master told me to do, even to such anextent. Unlike now, I have difficulties getting you to do anything.It is hard getting you to move a stone, never mind worshippingone.
So, I went home everyday I bowed to the sutras,chanted the sutras, and worshipped the Buddha; and I did haveexperiences. You will have experiences when you are very sincere.I had so many experiences that I cannot talk about them all.
I asked my master why it was necessary to chantthe sutras so loudly. I said, "Do I have to chant so loudlyeven at home?" He said, "It is better to chant loud,so the invisible beings are also benefitted."
I believed him, and I chanted very loudly untilI lost my voice. I even left the windows open, fearing the invisiblebeings could not come in. (Master and everyone laugh.)
Can you imagine? I was thirty then, not threeyears old, yet I was so naive! Whatever my master said, I woulddo. Perhaps, exactly because I was so dumb, I realized some Truth.Very smart people like you can hardly attain the Tao. You arefull of ideas, your minds are too smart, too cunning, and knowtoo much!
Once, in winter, the snow outside was higherthan a person, and it was very cold. Yet, fearing the invisiblebeings could not come in, I opened all the windows and dared noteven lower the curtains, to show my welcome. Invisible beingsdo not need to come in from the windows but I thought, "whatif some of them cannot come in?" Besides, it seemed as ifthey were unwelcome if I closed the windows and curtains, thenthey might not dare to enter. I even apologized to them, "Icannot open the door for fear of disturbing the neighbors."(Master and everyone laugh.)
Listen To Your Master, God WillBe Touched
Listen to your master - whoever he may be,you cannot go wrong. God will be touched. Observing this personis so dumb, God will protect him, let him understand something.Otherwise, what will happen if he remains a dumb person all hiswhole life?
Therefore, God always takes better care ofdumb persons. We should be dumb when we ought to be dumb. Do yourbest when you have work to do; use your wisdom when you have touse it, and do not use your wisdom when you are supposed to belistening. We have two ears but only one mouth. However, you seemto have grown two mouths and one ear, (Master and everyone laugh);or they have grown them in the wrong place. As soon as I tellyou something, it's exhaled very quickly and seems to vanish,leaving little effect.
When many people come here, they still embracetheir own preconceived notions, concepts and ideas. They feelthat they are great, and love to pull Master down. It is betterto pull yourself up than to pull me down to your level. Of course,it is more comfortable to pull Master down, so you feel closerto me: "She is exactly like me!"
However, this is bad for you. I can alwaysclimb up or come down, but I must tell you the truth to fulfilmy obligation as a teacher. I know, deep inside you understandvery clearly, but it is only your mind struggling. You shouldidentify the purpose of your coming here and don't listen to yourmind. Otherwise, both of us will be very tired, having to battlewith the mind.
I am always fighting your minds, which is extremelytiring. Each time I think about a certain person, I feel his mindfully packed with this or that, blocking my way to his soul. Themind is guarding the entrance tightly. It is very exhausting!Okay! Everyone understand now? (Answer: Yes!)