Notes Taken by Disciple Guo Yi Prior to Departure
to Haihui Monastery in Keelung, Taiwan
October 29, 1969
Let me tell you what my work is: it is coarse work, like that of a brick maker. Bricks are made from mud and are used to make buildings, but if you let the mud dry by itself, it will crumble. You must fire it first, and then it won't fall apart. For a year the five of you have been fired and fired and now the time is ripe. You are bricks that won't fall apart and turn into mud. The bricks are fired, and later they will be used to build a house, a Dharma house, and they will be a firm and solid foundation.
Long ago a Bodhi seed was planted and now it bears fruit and you are going to receive the precepts. But you must tend the tree and nourish this fruit so that all who see it will want to eat it. Don't be the kind of fruit that has to be eaten in order to find out if it's sweet. People should know at a glance.
But don't let yourselves be eaten, either. Then, like the bricks, you won't fall apart. These words are difficult to put into practice.
Protect one another; protect one another's vows.
The most important thing in cultivation is samadhi. Recognize your own original nature. What is it? How do you recognize it? It is clear, pure, and unstained. Faced with worldly situations, do not react. Whether you meet with good conditions or with demons, do not let your heart be moved.
If they say you are good, if they say you are bad, whatever they say, pay no attention. You have followed me long enough to know better than to let your mind be moved by joy or sorrow.
And as to good and evil: there is no way you can say that someone is entirely good or entirely evil. Shakyamuni Buddha, for example, was praised by many people, and yet there were also many who tried to destroy the Sangha. Devadatta was the worst of men, but many disciples studied his practices. Some people even call the Buddha's disciples pigs and dogs. Don't let your heart move. Turn the situation, don't let it turn you. If you can know things without knowing them, then that's truly wonderful.
Good and evil come not from others, but from yourself. If you are good and others say that you are evil, you yourself know that you are right. But if you do evil and others say you are good, you are still a fraud. Turn the state. If you are right, it doesn't matter what people say.
I am happy that you want to leave the home-life, and in the future you must spread the Buddhadharma and make it great and vast. But you must not beg or take advantage of situations. Haven't I told you that those who leave the home-life under me must follow my Three Conditions? These Three Conditions are very important. As one who has left the home-life,
- Freezing, I do not scheme,
Starving, I do not beg, and
Dying of poverty, I ask for nothing.
Unless you meet these Three Conditions, you cannot leave home under me.
Spread the Buddhadharma, but have no mark of "self." Just that is the Proper Dharma. In Buddhism there is no such thing as suffering or difficulty. You must help others and not be selfish. Greed, hatred, and stupidity--turn them, just like you turn over your hand. Before I was greedy, now I am not. Before I was hateful, now I am not. Before, I was stupid, now I am not. Turn it around, turn it over. This is the Mind Seal of all Buddhas which is being transmitted to you. Do you understand?
Don't have a 'self.' Put your 'self' to one side and help others. But do not think, "I am helping others. I am a Bodhisattva." What is done is done; put it aside. This is "letting all the appearances of dharmas be empty" and there is nothing higher. Sutras are explained just to tell you this. And so don't look elsewhere; you won't find it.
The Old Man of Mount Wei (the First Patriarch of the Wei Yang lineage) was given a sack of silver, but he didn't touch it. Three years later, the donor returned and it was still there, right where he left it. With that kind of samadhi power, you will surely succeed!
Are you enlightened? This is the last speaking of the Wonderful Dharma. Any questions?
Excerpt from an article by Oldy but Goody, p. 104 - 105
"In Memory of the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, Vol. III"