this era, when technology and materialism flourish, we want to take a careful
look at the thinking of the times and ask ourselves whether or not this is a
good age to live in. Science has made great advances in technology and that
certainly counts as good. But we should also realize the truth in the saying,
taken to the ultimate point
into its opposite."
the case of technological advances, good things also beckon misfortune.Let's
look at television, for example, I know people will object to my analysis of
the TV, saying "Dharma Master, you're a throwback to another age.You're
an anachronism.You're out of step with the times."Nonetheless, in my
opinion, the television is a menace to human life.The television is a
man-eater.Did you know that?Look at children these days.Instead of doing their
schoolwork, they sit in front of the TV set.They're glued to the screen, and
it eats up their very life-force.The children might as well be dead, because
they will never learn the basic principles of being good people.They only
learn how to stare at the television.
what does the TV teach them?Every kind of strange and freakish behavior you
can imagine.They learn precious little of value.The kids very quickly learn to
enact the evil and harmful lessons they watch.In no time at all, they learn
all the bad things that people can do.
television came into the world, the people-eater was radio. Radios sucked up
humans' life-force. People used to stick a radio in their ear and completely
forgot everything else.Radios made us forget about eating, sleeping, and the
ordinary events of life.Now the television has confused us to the point of not
knowing whether we're coming or going.
have followed along right after the television.In Chinese, the word for
computer translates literally into "electric brain".In the future
there will be electric eyes, as well as electric ears, electric tongues,
electric noses and electric bodies. Every one of the six organs will have
disposable modules, likes cassettes, and will gain an electric boost.Eyes,
ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind will be computerized.Even the mind will tie
in organically with "know-it-all computer memory banks."Is this a
good time to be a person?Impossible!This is a dark age in human history.
this benighted era, our wisdom has been stolen away by material things.Nobody
has any natural wisdom to speak of.Our inherent brightness has been replaced
by products and goods.And once we substitute things for wisdom, then people
will grow up blank, like idiots.Wisdom will become outmoded.People will no
longer serve any useful function.Mark my words: in the future, people will
become obsolete.Would you say this is a serious problem or not?Look into
it!People will soon be rendered useless!
instance, some unethical scientists now are busy inventing miraculous
monsters.You say it's human? It's not really human.You say it's an animal?It's
not exactly an animal either.Since they graft human genes onto animal bodies
and alter human genes with animals strains, this mutual genetic modification
produces a freakish, mutant, hybrid that resembles neither parent.
people can be born with horns, or elephant-like trunks.In my opinion, a human
born with a nose like a pachyderm is more a goblin than a person.These goblins
and freaks are all within the realm of possibility today.
the range of technology has grown out of control.Within the next two
centuries, telephones and the like will be totally obsolete.Televisions and
computers will have disappeared.Every person's physical body will contain the
capabilities of these machines.Nobody will have to bother dialing a telephone
or punching a touch-tone.A person will only need to beam out the number of the
desired party from his own built-in phone, with its antennae located in the
eyebrows, perhaps, or from his hair, and the other person will receive the
call the same built-in way."Hello! Good morning!" That's how easy it
will be to place a phone call.
may be thinking at this point, "Dharma Master, that's the craziest talk
I've ever heard."
I ask you to consider this. How many people would have believed you if five
hundred years ago you had said, "In five hundred years, there will be
airplanes, television, and radios?" Everyone would have considered you
insance.But all these inventions are commonplace now.
do I mention this topic in the first place? Because we should recognize that
advances in science, and in material benefits are not necessarily good for
humanity in the long run.They are incomplete, imperfect benefits.Wisdom, on
the other hand, is the most thorough-going benefit for the whole
world.Thinking and attitudes born of morality and virtue are thoroughly good
for us all.The Buddha's Four Measureless Attitudes of kindness, compassion,
joy, and even-mindedness are totally advantageous to all creatures.When we
base ourselves in thoughts such as these, then we can go ahead and put
technology to work for us.There's no fear that we will forget the fundamental
aspects of humanity: our own bodies for example.In the future people will
forget entirely what people look like.We will all become like animals. I'm not
scolding you; this prediction is a cold, hard fact.
how the world turns. Good taken to the ultimate point turns bad.Evil, once it
reaches an extreme, turns good.A person who is poor to the bitter extreme of
poverty can suddenly strike it rich, while rich people can lose every penny
overnight. Once born, we are tiny infants, but we grow up, grow old, get sick,
and die.That's the cycle of creation and destruction rolling on in the
world.It is a natural process of progressive, cyclical change.A process of
progressive, cyclical change.A process of metabolism, and transformation.If we
recognize the state, then getting rich won't especially appeal to us any
longer.And if we should lose our wealth, then we will see things according to
it is most important in this day and age of insanity not to go crazy, and not
to forget what it means to be a person.We must keep in mind the original
purpose and appearance of human beings.When speaking of the meaning of human
life, I can say frankly, that the most beneficial things I have run across in
my entire life are the Six Guidelines of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.
first of these is "not fighting." This rule applies
unilaterally. I will not contend with anybody. No matter what criticism you
give me. I will accept it without reservation.Call me what you will.A small
cat?Fine, I'm a cat. Call me a dog? Okay, I'm a dog. However you perceive me
in your mind, that's what I am. Do you see me as a Buddha? I'm a Buddha. Do
you see me as a Bodhisattva? That's what I am."Everything is made from
the mind alone."I am whatever you conceive me to be.
my own part, I have my goals and purposes for being a person. What are
they?Simply not contending with people, no matter who it is.You may call me
what you please, and I will wear that label.I will acknowledge the name.That
will be who I am. I won't contend with you.
second rule is "no greed".Whatever you own, is yours.I don't
want it.And anything of mine that you want, I will give to you. I actually
will hand it over.When I give, it's not like the classic, greedy
Sangha-member, who constantly tells people to "Give! Give! Give",
and who mouths the platitude, "Left-home people do not crave wealth; but
the more there is, the better."Any ordinary person hopes that people will
give to him, yet this monk is not at all interested in being charitable
towards others.This is a wrong attitude.We should avoid it.
for "no seeking", it means don't look for opportunities to
make a killing, or to score a fat profit.Everybody in the world fights for
advantages.If we understand the principle of not seeking, and resting content,
with few desires, then we won't contend with people any more.Someone who
grasps this point truly understands the Six Great Principles.
don't we seek?It's because we don't want to be selfish.The only reason a
person would seek for things is because of selfishness.With no self, there's
no reason left to seek.And free of selfishness, one won't run after personal
benefits.These two of the Six Guidelines are inter-related. No selfishness
creates the condition for not seeking personal advantages.The two names:
"no selfishness" and "no self-benefit" sound
similar: in fact, they have distinct differences.
last one is "no lying".The only reason a person would lie is out of
fear; he's afraid of losing his selfish advantages.This fear moves him to
criticize everybody else, saying, "All of you are wrong. I'm the only one
who's right. "Why does he feel this way?Because he fears he'll lose his
benefits to other people.Someone who didn't hanker after personal profits
would have no reason to tell a lie.In the final analysis, what's a lie worth,
anyway?If you can truly understand these Six Guiding Principles, then you know
what it means to be a person.
you don't understand the Six Guidelines, then you're simply running in
lock-step with the rat-race of this mad age.As long as you flow with the tide
of insanity, you're just another madman, as crazy as the next person.
my message for you all today. I hope the young people among you who hear me
won't go insane. The elderly among you should even more keep a grip in your
sanity.The little children here can learn along with the adults. Learn how not
to go crazy.Ialways say, "Everything's okay, no problem!"
a bit more to add here. Don't get scared when you hear me call television,
radios, and computers man-eating goblins. No need to be afraid.My hope is that
you will clearly recognize these things for what they are.Once you recognize
them, then electric gadgets lose their power to confuse you. That's enough to
know.But if you're confused by them, then they can gobble you down.
same principle applies to beauty.If the sight of a pretty figure has the power
to confuse you, then you've been swallowed by a man-eater.If the sight of
money confuses you, then you've just been devoured by a man-eater.If your
purpose is to establish a big reputation and fame confuses you, then you've
just be swallowed by the goblin of fame.If good food confuses you, although
you feel you've just enjoyed a tasty dish, in fact, the food has eaten you.The
food has eaten your spiritual soul, your Dharma-body.It has eaten up your
wisdom, and left you as stupid as can be.
If sleep keeps you in a stupor for several centuries, and when you finally wake and see by your wrist watch that it's already half-past noon, and if then, you simply roll over and go back to sleep, then you've been devoured by sleep. Get the point?