English | Vietnamese


October 29, 1973 | Monday evening

On Working Together to Uncover the Truth

Venerable Master Hsuan Hua



Master: Last night’s five coverings are still covering us. Today we need to remove the coverings. Whoever can take off the coverings will achieve freedom and ease, but anyone unwilling to remove them will not be free and at ease. If you want to remove the coverings, then speak up quickly.

Bhikshu Heng Shoou: The first is desire, the second is anger, the third is drowsiness, the fourth is restlessness, and the fifth is doubt. Yesterday’s explanation was a little incorrect.

Master: What do you think about what he said? Was it is right or not? [Editor’s note: A discussion ensues.] That’s from the dictionary?

Bhikshu Heng Shoou: It’s from the Discussion of Great Vehicle Doctrines, not a dictionary

Master: Great Master Yongjia said, “It’s not that I, the mountain monk, presume there is self and others, but in cultivation  one must be careful not to fall into the pit of annihilationism and eternalism.” Since we are currently lecturing on the sutra,

we have to make it understood and investigate it thoroughly. If everyone really understands it, then we will not have wasted our time. However, if you remain silent when you don’t understand, and also remain silent when you do understand, then only you

yourself know ultimately whether you understand or not, and no one else knows. In that case, it’s very easy for fish eyes to pass for pearls. Hence there is a certain amount of difference between the way we are lecturing on sutras and the way it was done in China. Here, everyone has the right to speak. There is freedom of speech, and no matter who lectures incorrectly, any of you can raise the issue for investigation. Don’t hesitate or say you don’t dare talk. Even if I’m the one who says something wrong

or explains a principle incorrectly, any one of you can bring it up for discussion. Therefore we are equal, and you should not view things in terms of rank. Don’t have the outlook that there are a Master and disciples. When it’s a matter of theory or of principle, no one should be allowed to bluff his or her way through. You have to investigate honestly. Consequently, Great Master Yongjia also said, “If you have unresolved doubts,” you should ask about them. If you wonder about something or don’t understand something, you can ask about it. “If you have unresolved doubts, you must directly attack.” We need to attack. It’s not okay not to attack. What must be attacked? We should attack the truth. We absolutely have to work together to make the truth emerge. It’s not for certain that the way I see things is complete, but the group as a whole is equivalent to a sage in wisdom. We should pool our collective wisdoms. You think of things I didn’t think of, and someone else thinks of something you didn’t think of. Then we put it all together. The collective mind is the Buddha’s mind, and the theories of the group are the theories of the Buddha. We should all speak up without formalities of politeness and bring the truth to light together.


Timely Teachings, pages 343 - 344