Lecturer: Master Zheng-Yan
Subject: With kindness, Bestow Blessings and Joy (慈能予人福樂)
For the ancient sages, filial piety was foremost of all goodness. With kindness, one bestows blessings and joy. With harmony, one gets along with others. With benevolence, one can be accepting and endure without conflict.
The basis of being human [is goodness]. Everyone person has a family; everyone has parents. The principle of familial relationships should be goodness. The foremost goodness is filial piety. Parents are their children’s role models. If children are taught to be filial, they will love and respect their siblings. If they love and respect their siblings, when they go to school, they will respect their elders, their teachers and their schoolmates. As they enter society, they will see others as their family. They will respect their elders, treat those their own age as their siblings, and those younger as their children. One’s life begins with family education. Then with schooling, one can enter society. As the ancient sages said, filial piety is foremost of all goodness. A small family is a portrait of the entire society. We should value family education. Then with kindness, we can give blessings and joy. As adults, we can understand that making our society more family-oriented requires kindness. With kindness, one gives willingly. If we always give willingly, we bestow blessings and joy to others. So, with kindness one bestows blessings and joy. One also needs to be harmonious with others. If we all get along with everyone, and cultivate a harmonious mindset, we are welcome among any group of people. So, we should always cultivate harmony. When families and people are harmonious, everything is achievable. So, harmony is the most crucial thing in being with others. Benevolence is the same as kindness. With benevolence, we can yield to others. The character for “benevolence” has two people. In our relationships, when we can yield to others, we are being accepting and forgiving. We must be accepting and accommodating, then we can endure without conflict. When our heart is wide open, what matters in this world can we not endure? If we can endure effortlessly, so that it becomes something very natural, we can see into the truth of the world, and we will never reach the end of our tolerance. We should endure as if there is nothing to endure, which is quite different from reaching the end of our tolerance. Reaching the limit of our endurance means we can only endure so much.Means we can only endure so much.Such tolerance has limits.
If we reach that limit, we do not wish to yield anymore.It has become unendurable, so we retaliate.This retaliation may be fierce and aggressive.In our spiritual practice, we much have patience.This patience becomes the skill to endure.
Learning Buddhism is about cultivating the mind.
If we have a mindset with goodness, filial piety, kindness, harmony and benevolence, what worldly matters can cause trouble for us?So, we should learn to get along with others.
We must also put goodness first.Then we can bestow joy with kindness, be in harmony with others and quell fights with benevolence.This is what we must learn.
Learning Buddhism is about cultivating the mind.In working with people, goodness comes first.Bestow joy with kindness, be in harmony with others, and quell disputes with benevolence.
As mentioned, many wrongdoings, whether mild or severe, obvious or subtle, whether we committed them ourselves, or whether we caused others to do so, or just went along happily, these are all created by the mind.When one lacks good thoughts, one may commit them oneself, or just go along happily to commit them.To commit what?Wrongdoings.
So, we should develop a mindset with goodness, kindness, harmony and acceptance.
Then naturally we will not allow any types of wrongdoings to occur.If we have negative habitual tendencies and lack compassion and forgiveness, large and small transgressions will arise from these habitual tendencies.
The next section in the repentance text says,
“Whether we use force to coerce others, or go so far as to praise the actions of wrongdoers.”The previous passage talked about transgression that was mild, severe, subtle or obvious.
We may have committed them ourselves, led others, or followed other to commit them.
This is all negative karma.
What is in the passage we just read is more severe?
Not only did we commit wrongdoings, we also used force to coerce others to do so.
We did not just lead others; we use our power or authority to force others to commit wrongs.
“We go so far as to praise.”This is incorrect.But some people on the sidelines, though they do not commit wrongs, watch people who do these deeds, which go against human ethics and morals and lack goodness, kindness, benevolence, love.As they watch people force others to do wrong, they fear the aggressor’s power and instead of criticizing these wrongdoings, they praise the aggressor.They can no longer tell right from wrong.Although they did not commit any wrongdoing, they cannot distinguish right from wrong, and lack the moral courage to analyze the situation instead, they “praise the actions of wrongdoers.”
These people not only do not dare speak against evil, they praise it and say it is right.
Look at all the conflicts between people and nations in the world.It comes from “praising the actions of wrongdoers.”This leads to many man-made disasters.
So, we should be very mindful.We must always look after our minds to prevent them from creating karma.If we create a lot of negative karma, we will descend into Hell, and suffer unspeakable pain.So, “Today I sincerely repent all wrongdoings.”
Every day we talk about the thoughts that arise in the mind.These thoughts can be very fearsome. Depending on one’s position or status, the severity of one’s mistake varies. An influential person’s error can shake the world.
So, we must always be highly vigilant. If we are not careful with our thoughts, and do not subdue our ignorant afflictions, we may commit these various transgressions, whether mild, severe, obvious or subtle. We may do them ourselves, lead others, or follow along happily.
This all occurs in our daily living, so we should always be repentant .By developing the habit of repentance, we can overcome negative habitual tendencies.
Next, the verses read,
“I vow to repent all evils”. With the merits that arise, life after life, may we be kind, harmonious, loyal, filial, humble and patient.
Indeed, we should always hold a repentant mindset. If we always repent, then naturally, all evils, whether slight or serious, obvious or subtle, will all be eliminated. I often say that everything is due to our habitual tendencies.Since negative thoughts arise from our tendencies, we should develop the habit to repent.This habit is to heighten our awareness. Whenever thoughts arise, our vigilance will quickly arise and we will become repentant.
Even if we have not committed wrongdoings, we should still repent, because we have given rise to such thoughts. Then naturally, these evils will no longer continue to be produced and will no longer cause us to act .So, if we repent all evils, they will be eliminated, and merits and goodness will arise.With the merits that arise life after life, may we be kind, harmonious, loyal, filial After negative habits are eliminated through the power of repentance, we should accumulate the power of goodness. So, do not forget what I have said about merits and virtues.
Cultivate internally, be courteous externally. Internal spiritual practice is the skill of developing and nurturing wholesome habits. When one works hard on improving habits, one becomes courteous and accepting on the outside.We should do all good deeds. No matter what it is, we should take joy in it and quickly do it. Doing benevolent deeds that benefit others is kindness and compassion. With kindness and compassion, we can bring blessings and joy to others.With an open heart, we can be courteous and accepting. This is virtue. When we are with others, we bring harmony and joy to them. We do not fight with others because our minds are accommodating. If we are always forbearing instead of combative, we have merits and virtues.As we develop such habits, we exhibit them with our actions.
So “With the merits that arise ,”these habits will be formed,not only for this life ,but for life after life.When we are with people , we will habitually be kind ,harmonious , loyal and filial
Some people have good temperaments ,they are filial ,benevolent and compassionate.
Regardless of criticism or terrible environments , they can endure.It is not difficult them.
Mr ,Chen Jin-tzuan is a Faith Corp member who is very filial.When he was young , his parents were too busy ,so his grandmother took care of him. So , besides being grateful to his parents，he is very filial to his grandmother.His grandmother is over 90 now.Each day ,he carries her around.Whenever he senses that she has lost weight , he worries. He carries her around the house ,takes her outside on a wheelchair ,and feeds her three meals a day.
If she does not eat ,he will open his own mouth and say “Ahh，”until she opens her mouth to
take in the food he is holding. It is just like a mother bird feeding her young ;it is very moving.
His children say that he is a good role model. They say they will treat him the same as
he treated their great grandmother.He brought his entire family into Tzu-Chi.He is also the leader of a Concerted Effort Team.
How does he lead others ?Some are very stubborn.But he vowed to guide everyone into Tzu Chi.Once they join ,they will benefit from learning. This is his hope. He introduces Tzu Chi
to his old and new friends ,trying to mindfully guide them in.The best way is through recycling. He invites them to our recycling centers. When they are touched by what they see they will naturally join. For those who are more stubborn,instead of just talking ,he will guide them by example. If he know that a certain volunteer is delivering recycling materials ,he will help after work. Regardless of how tired he is ,he will be there to lead by example. He leads others by humbling himself.This is his special method. Sometimes he even invites volunteer on his team to go hiking with their families. He also brings his own parents and family along on these outings. When the road is steep,he carries his grandmother.Many people who saw such gestures began to learn to be filial to their own elders.They would change their bad habits and treat their spouses and children with love. This is the method of educating others. This is being“kind harmonious , loyal , filial ,humble and patient”.To lead others , we must be patient.
Everyone , we should better utilize our current bodies and conditions to encourage and learn from one another in this spiritual training ground,we should develop our habitual tendencies
so as not do wrong. We must always be vigilant of our conduct and surroundings.
We should also be aware of the greater society and of humanity. We should develop good habits.If we give rise to a resentful thought toward others , we should detect it and repent.
With a thought of repentance , evil is eliminated. We should cultivate this kind of habit.Then we will carry it with us.In this life and our lives to come.Then we can create good affinities with others. We need to develop good affinities before attaining Buddhahood.
So kindness ,harmony and forgiveness are all fundamentals of goodness.
Everyone , please always be mindful.