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Creating a Land of Ultimate Bliss

 A talk given on November 29, 1985

 

The poisonous thoughts that people have are created from the three kinds of karma--physical, verbal, and mental. Since people lack thoughts of kindness, compassion, joy, and giving, they fall lower in every life and create vast amounts of bad karma. All that karma adds up, causing the poison to penetrate their bodies more deeply with each passing day. There is no antidote for this kind of poison, and eventually they turn into vipers, centipedes, scorpions, and the like. Some of these creatures have poison in their mouths, some in their tails, some in their legs, and some in their whole body. In any case, such poison causes people to lose consciousness, and it may even be fatal. It is very fearful.

 

We should have a compassionate mind. Whether we are dealing with people or handling things, we should always be sincere and considerate, and get along with people harmoniously. We should not oppress people with vicious tactics. Students of Buddhism cannot ignore cause and effect. On the contrary, we should pay special attention to cause and effect. If people attack you for no apparent reason, whether they verbally slander you or physically harm you, you should not retaliate. You should use a compassionate mind to influence and transform them--“repay hatred with kindness”--and thereby cause people to change their faults and repent. We should learn to have Maitreya Bodhisattva‘s attitude of “patience, patience, patience!” Then people will spontaneously bury the hatchet and work for peace: it will be like the blue sky after a rainstorm, with the wind and waves subsiding. Otherwise, if we do not have sufficient samadhi and cultivation, we may start scolding or even beating one another up, with the outcome that both sides are wounded and defeated, and some third party takes advantage of the situation.

 

The Living Buddha of Gold Mountain had samadhi power and was not afraid of any poison. He used his mind of great compassion to influence all the poisonous animals, so that they became his friends and never hurt him. The “Universal Door Chapter” says that whoever recites the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva will be able to influence poisonous animals to become good and not hurt people. When we investigate the Buddhadharma, we must penetrate its meanings and understand its principles to be considered a true students of the Buddhadharma.

 

Most people would like to aim high while neglecting the fundamentals. They exclusively work on obtaining queer and mysterious states. That’s the wrong attitude. We should work on developing kindness, compassion, joy, and giving. How? First of all, we should work on not fighting, not being greedy, not seeking, not being selfish, not wanting personal advantage, and not lying. These principles are very simple. We should start from what is simple, moving from near to far, and from shallow to deep. We should not talk about mysterious things or say a bunch of theories that no one understands; that would be useless.

 

It is said, "Contemplate the nature of Dharma Realm: Everything is made from the mind." The mind can create the heavens as well as the hells. The ten Dharma Realms are not beyond a single thought of the mind. Therefore, we should know that once the mind moves, the shadow of karma follows right along. There‘s an ancient saying,

 

Three dots like a cluster stars, and a hook like the crescent moon:

Furred creatures come from there; Buddhas come from there too.

 

This describes the Chinese character  “mind”. From this we can understand the nature of our mind. If we can understand our mind, we will have no temper. All the fighting, greed, and seeking will be gone. At that time we will truly be liberated and at ease, and we will understand the true meaning of human existence.

 

Each of us is replete with the Buddha nature. However, we renounce the Buddha nature and go afar to exploit external conditions. We find some junk and treat it as if it were a priceless treasure. This is both laughable and pathetic. I hope you will all apply effort seriously--purify your mind, have few desires, and be in harmony with the rest of the world.

 

Someone says, "Everything in this world from the mountains, rivers, the vast land, and buildings, down to thorny brambles, poisonous grass, soil, wood, sand, and rocks are all made from the mind." Since we know they are all made from the mind, why don't we sweep out the garbage in our minds so as to adorn the world of the future? The Land of Ultimate Bliss came about because in his past lives, Amitabha Buddha wanted to help living beings leave suffering and attain bliss. Thus he diligently cultivated the Six Paramitas and transferred the merit and virtue from his cultivation to the creation of that Land.

 

We should also create a Land of Ultimate Bliss. How? First of all, we should be free of the seven emotions. What are the seven emotions? They are joy, anger, grief, fear, love, loathing, and desire. When we have subdued and settled these seven emotions, our minds will be tranquil and free from all suffering. Why is there suffering? Because the mind is not at peace. If we are free from all kinds of suffering and enjoy all kinds of pleasure, just that is the manifestation of the Land of Ultimate Bliss in this world.

 

When the seven emotions are not subdued, they are either too strong or too weak. They are not moderated and balanced, and so they turn us topsy-turvy. If we understand the seven emotions, we can subdue them so that they don‘t cause any disturbance. That is just subduing the mind. Since the seven emotions come from the mind, when the mind gives rise to joy, to anger, or to affliction, it is being influenced by states. Now that we have found the root of the problem, we are not deluded anymore and we have subdued the heavenly demons and externalists. Why do the heavenly demons and externalists come to disturb our minds? It’s because we use our minds and emotions too much. When we go running and seeking outside, we have no peace of mind. Therefore we attract the demons to enter our minds and be the hosts. If we listen to them and follow their orders, we lose our independence and become their slaves.

 

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