Date: December 14, 2010
Lecturer: Master Zheng-Yan
Subject: Taking Care of Our Minds and Seizing Time to Give of Ourselves (淨心為善廣造福)
Every year at our Year-end Blessings Ceremonies, our sign language performance team will give a stage performance to show everyone that what we’re experiencing nowadays are in line with what the Buddha spoke of.
As the Great Awakened One, over 2,000 years ago, the Buddha had clearly explained to us everything in the world that we live in today.
He told us that the world nowadays is filled with impurities.
Impurities refer to defilements and pollution.
It’s not only about the pollution in our environment, but also the defilements in people’s minds.
Such defilements of the mind refer to the ignorance that leads people to create much negative karma.
This year, there are two stage performances.
At the beginning of one performances, we see a painting of a beautiful place with picturesque landscape.
Seeing this, this painter begins to contemplate on what he can draw to add to this painting.
So, he draws an ox.
This is what our mind is like---.
Our mind can create any kind of world that it conjures up.
After drawing an ox, fields, paths, etc., the painter thinks to himself again: “Is that enough?”
He then thinks of how great it would be if people could live in mansions in the mountains as the mountain air is fresh and the scenery is beautiful.
So, he paints some houses in the mountains.
He then feels that building houses on the flatlands would be good as that would make a lot of money.
So, the pastures are replaced with buildings.
This is what people do nowadays---felling trees in the mountains to build mansions, and clearing pastures on the flatlands to construct buildings.
But is that enough?
No, it’s not.
The painter wants the place to become more urbanized.
So, he paints planes, cars, high-speed rail, etc. for convenient transportation.
Is that enough?
No, it still isn’t.
This painter becomes so preoccupied with his thoughts that his mind becomes very confused.
This is how people are---.
The more desires we have the more wrong things we do and the more bad karma we create.
In the end, we don’t know what we want anymore.
That’s why the painter becomes so overwhelmed that it is driving him crazy.
So, he wipes clean everything he has drawn, leaving only the original beautiful landscape in the painting.
So, to have a clean environment, people must first purify their own minds.
This is why every one of us must repent for every unwholesome thought that arises in our mind as our mind is like a good artist who can paint whatever comes to his mind.
This is how every thought that arises in our mind.
Leads to the creation of karma, and when we do wrong, we create bad karma.
See how the painter conjures up so many ideas, but in the end, he is overwhelmed by what he comes up with and has to return everything to its original state.
The other stage performance is about a passage in the Water Repentance text.
To expound the Water Repentance text, I spent over 500 days in two years, as a year only has 365 days, explaining the whole text to everyone.
The performance encapsulates the essence of the Water Repentance text to let everyone know that all of the natural and manmade disasters around the world actually come from the greed and desires that arise from our mind.
As I often say, our desires are like a bottomless pit because when we have one, we want nine more, when we have 1,000, we want 10,000, and when we get 10,000, we want 100.000.
This is how we keep wanting more.
That’s why I keep telling everyone that when we give rise to ignorance and delusion, we’ll do things that lead to much bad karma because our greed and desires are insatiable.
Take for example the performance we just saw.
The father led an impoverished life, but he still so hard to provide for his son by begging on the street.
All he hoped was for his son to be successful one day.
The son used to live a village together with his father, who loved him very much.
But later, the son moved to a big city to work as a realtor and eventually set up his own company as well as many branch offices.
He was so successful that he forgot who he was.
But in the end, he lost everything and even suffered a stroke.
It was only at this point did he realize how much his father, wife, and son had loved and cared about him.
All in all, if life is just about having a successful career, then we will end up being so busy that we will have no time for anything else.
We will be so caught up with our pursuits that we forget to look after our minds and reflect on the true meaning of life.
This will cause us to repeat our mistakes and spiral downwards.
In the end, we will be left with nothing but guilt and remorse.
Our life is but a few decades long.
During these few decades, if we don’t take good care of our minds, even the slightest deviation can cause us to stray far off course in life.
By the time we realize our mistakes, much time has been wasted.
Life is indeed short and fleeting, so why don’t we seize time to do what we can when we are still able and take each step firmly and steadfastly?
Everyone, I hope you can walk the Tzu Chi path with firm resolution.
In life, we must create good karma by doing good, because we reap what we sow.
Be it good karma or bad karma, we ourselves will have to bear the consequences of our own action.
So, everything we do will come back to us in the end in this big family of Tzu Chi where we support and help one another, I’m sure when we pool our strength together, we can help and benefit many people and create blessings for the world.