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Dharma talks in Europe
In 1990, the Fifth International Delegation of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association and the Dharma Realm Buddhist University made its first European tour to propagate the Buddhadharma. The delegation returned to the United States at the end of October 1990, after a month-long tour, which included visits to England, Belgium, Poland, and France. Wherever the delegation went its members sincerely and straightforwardly explained the true principles of Buddhism.
In order to perpetuate the heritage of the BuddhaỖs wisdom and cause the Proper Dharma to last long in the world, the Venerable Master Hua advocated to his European audiences that the northern and southern traditions of Buddhism unite and draw in other religions as well. He exhorted people to pay attention to the problems of education, for it is only by reforming education that we can hope to save the world and its people. For the sake of carrying on the BuddhaỖs work, he invited aspiring translators to come to the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and cooperate in translating the entire Tripitaka (Buddhist canon) into all the worldỖs languages. That would enable the Buddhadharma to nourish peopleỖs minds and draw in all beings.
The Venerable MasterỖs vast and deeply compassionate vows, his lofty virtue, and his extensive practices won the respect of people wherever he went. The Master observed peopleỖs needs and dispositions and taught them accordingly. This volume, Dharma Talks in Europe, is a compilation of the more than twenty talks and lectures that he gave in Europe.
Propagation of the Buddhadharma is EveryoneỖs Responsibility
A talk given on October 6, 1990
At the Amaravati Buddhist Centre in England
Wherever I go, itỖs the same as being at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. There isnỖt any difference. ThatỖs because we are of the same substance as the Dharma Realm. I am extremely happy to have the rare opportunity to come here today. The Buddha spoke all Dharmas in response to the needs and potentials of living beings. Therefore, whether we are of the northern or the southern tradition, we should bring forth the Bodhi resolve to help living beings end birth and death, leave suffering, and attain happiness. Everyone should understand the genuine teachings of the Buddha. We shouldnỖt say, "We represent orthodox Buddhism and you donỖt." If we inflict harm upon ourselves like that, itỖs of no benefit to Buddhism. We want to establish communication between the northern and southern traditions of Buddhism, causing them to unite and merge into one. The southern tradition shouldn't keep going south, and the northern tradition shouldnỖt keep going north. Everyone should meet in the middle, because northern and southern Buddhists are all disciples of the Buddha. It shouldnỖt be that you do your thing, and we do ours, so that the strength of Buddhism gets dispersed into different sects.
When I first left the home life, I looked into why it was that although the doctrines of Buddhism are so perfect and complete, there are so few people in the world who study them? What was the reason for this?
After looking into it, I discovered that it was because the Buddhist scriptures have not yet been translated into the languages of every nation. That is why Buddhism has not become widespread in the world. We have not done like the Catholics and Protestants, who have translated the Bible into every language, so that the people of all nations can understand it as soon as they read it. And so when I left the home-life, I vowed that although I did not know any foreign languages, I wanted to see the Buddhist scriptures translated into every language. Up to this day my vow has not completely been fulfilled, but I am continuing to walk in this direction. If there are people who share the same wish, no matter what country you come from, I hope you will stand together with us and work with us to accomplish this important project.
For this reason the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts has been founded in Burlingame, south of San Francisco, to carry out the translation work. Whether you are Buddhist of the northern or southern tradition, I hope that everyone can cooperate to translate the Buddhist scriptures into the worldỖs languages. This is a very important task. We should not cause schisms among ourselves--thatỖs only a waste of time and energy, and totally useless. When the Buddha was teaching living beings, he spoke Dharma for forty-nine years and expounded the Sutras in over three hundred assemblies. The people he taught, such as Mahamaudgalyayana, Shariputra, and Mahakashyapa, were the followers of other religions. They originally believed in other religions, but they all came to take refuge in Buddhism. So why canỖt we Buddhists be tolerant of one another and encourage each other to make progress? Why do we stop halfway down the road in order to denounce and criticize each other instead? DoesnỖt that amount to harming our own brothers?
Even though I am someone who doesnỖt understand any foreign languages, I dare to sponsor the translation of the Buddhist canon into all the languages of the world. This very idea of mine has already made the Buddhas happy. If someone like me who doesnỖt know foreign languages wants to do this, then how much the more should those who do know foreign languages apply themselves to this work with serious and diligent effort.
Of course our personal cultivation is extremely important as well. If we can cultivate and attain the Way, we can naturally be of great help to Buddhism. But still, it will only be a temporary contribution. If we can translate the Buddhist canon into the languages of the world, so that the Buddhadharma can enter every personỖs heart, this will be a lasting accomplishment. The propagation of the Buddhadharma is a very important mission, but translating the Buddhist canon is of even greater significance in the propagation of the Buddhadharma.
[EditorỖs note: In October 1990, during the Venerable MasterỖs first Dharma tour in Europe, about fifty people from Poland took refuge with the Master and became Buddhists. Afterwards they formed a group to translate Buddhist Sutras with commentaries into Polish. So far they have translated and published the Venerable MasterỖs commentary on the Earth Store Sutra. They are currently working on the MasterỖs commentary of the Shurangama Sutra.]