Lecturer: Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Teach the Rich, Help the Poor (濟貧教富)
Let us be grateful every day that we are born into a life where we can be nourished by the Buddha-Dharma, which, like rain and dew, helps our Wisdom-life grow.
Think about it. Shouldn’t we be grateful every day? As we said, when we make vows and dedicate merits, in our hearts, we all pray that in every lifetime, in every place, no matter where we are, we will have a great leader in power who can promote the Buddha-Dharma so that Dharma and ethical values will be prevalent. We also hope that we are born into a family with Right Knowledge and Right Views, one that upholds and practices Right Dharma. We hope not to be born into a place with deviant thinking and views. This is what we pray for regarding our destination in a future life. We also pray that no matter where we are born, we may be transformation-born into a lotus or “born to honored and victorious families, live stable and peaceful lives, and easily obtain food and clothing.” This is what we all pray for. How can we be transformation-born into a lotus? Only if we are born in a Pure Land, in Amitahba’s Land of Ultimate Bliss. Where is the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss? Not far. Let us realize a Pure Land on Earth. A clean and pure place is a Pure Land. Since we follow the Buddha’s teachings we uphold and practice the Bodhisattva-path. That is the path we walk. Bodhisattvas cannot abandon sentient beings. Therefore, we must return to the Saha-world. The Saha-world is also called the Evil World of Five Turbidities. How do we seek to be born in a Pure Land and return to the Saha-world at the same time? This depends on the power of our vows, not the power of our karma. We willingly return to the Saha-world, to the Evil World of Five Turbidities, because we vowed to transform all sentient beings. In the Saha-world, there are rich and poor people, incorrect and correct understandings. Of course, we also hope to be born into a pur and unblemished family. Such a family is honored and victorious. If we are, we will lead peaceful and happy lives. Even if we have few material goods, if our minds are pure, we will always feel content, as long as we have no expectations. Do not seek to have many material goods. Those who are content are always happy. So, always feel a sense of gratitude. Be grateful for a grain of rice, a strand of yarn. [What we have] is enough; it is already great. This sense of gratitude comes from always immersing ourselves in the pure stream of the Dharma. If we are nourished by the Buddha-Dharma, we allow Wisdom-life to grow in our minds. With wisdom, we will not crave worldly goods.
Then naturally we will be very content and be understanding about all worldly matters.
Isn’t such a life filled with abundance?It is a very wealthy life.This is what we seek.
The next passage in the repentance text says,
“We also vow that in every lifetime and in everyplace, we will be kind, benevolent, loyal and filial, help everyone with an undiscriminating mind, and not allow harmful thoughts to arise.”
The meaning of this passage is that we should not just wait for the future.We have to start now.Whether we are with family, in society or among people, we cultivate kindness, benevolence, loyalty and filial piety.Looking at our current society, living a life with those qualities is truly not a simple matter.
We need to be kind to others.Elders also need to be kind to youth.To be kind is to give unconditionally, to hope that everyone will be happy.Be like a kind father.This is called paternal kindness.Sakyamuni Buddha came to the world and saw all sentient beings as His children.Thus He is the kind father of sentient beings.The head of a household must also be a kind father.Parents raise their children out of kindness.They constantly give unconditionally to the next generation.
But is the way modern parents show love being kind or are they spoiling their children?
Nowadays people lack wisdom.They just love, so they end up spoiling or pampering children.So, this is the lack of wisdom in people nowadays.Even if they have love, they cannot be kind.
Look at Sakyamuni Buddha.He used wisdom to teach and guide sentient beings, and treated them as His children.He taught them with love and wisdom.So, to be kind is really not that simple.Then there is benevolence.
People need to be benevolent to one another.This means being honest and kind, or one who is very virtuous.This is benevolence.It is not just directed toward the next generation to have very strong morals.This is not just admiration of elders, but also love toward peers and even toward those who are younger.To be moral and ethical, kind, benevolent, loyal, and filial is not easy.It is very are nowadays.
Not many people were like this the past, either.In the era of the Tang Emperor Gao-Zong, he also promoted filial piety in families.There was a family where all nine generations lived together in one house.This family was led by Chang Gong-yi, the elder of the entire clan.
Nine generations lived together, so the emperor often praised him openly.
Once, Emperor Gao-Zong wondered, “How does this man manage their family?”“How can this huge family, this clan live harmoniously? All under one roof?”So, he went to Chang Gong-yi‘s home.His visit was an occasion of great honor.Everyone respectfully awaited his arrival.When the emperor saw this huge harmonious clan he asked Chang Gong-yi, “How do you manage this family?”“How can this family be so harmonious that nine generations live together?”How can this family be so harmonious that nine generations live together? Chang Gong-yi smiled but did not answer. He picked up a pen and wrote patience, patience, patience. He wrote patience 100 times. The emperor was moved to tears. So much hardship was hidden in those words.That is why the emperor was moved. Therefore, for so many people to live together, they must be kind, benevolent, loyal and filial, which cannot be separated from patience. So if people can be patient and accommodating, they can get along with others.In this Saha-world, the world of Five Turbidities, how can we vow in every lifetime to return? We must practice our patience.
In our Jing Si Hall, there is a group of exceptional youths 500-600 of them are gathered together. They are Tzu Ching [our collegiate volunteers]. They create a workshop for Faith Corps Father and Yi-De Mother.After our collegiate volunteers graduated, they found jobs or crated their own businesses. They have all established themselves in society. But when they were in college, they learned about and volunteered for Tzu Chi. Every time they came to lifestyle camps, they were accompanied by Faith Corps Father and Yi-De Mothers.
They were guided and helped so they could get involved with Tzu Chi and understand the Jing Si way of living. So, before they graduated, they all vowed to carry on Tzu Chi’s work life after life and pass down the Jing Si Dharma-lineage.
They even vowed to promote the Tzu Chi School of Buddhism. So after they graduated, they formed an alumni association. Those in this association, although they have already graduated and started working, they will still come back to guide new collegiate volunteers.
Year after year they come back to guide these collegiate youths. Many of them have now been certified as Faith Corps members and Commissioners; the women may join the Yi-De Association, and the men may join the Faith Corps Association.So they return as Commissioners and Faith Corps member to pass down our Dharma-lineage, promote our School. They are very diligent .The alumni association meets every year. More and more people have been certified as Commissioners and Faith Corps members.
They still diligently discuss the best way to guide people. They have made aspirations and vows, and upheld them with perseverance. I went to their closing ceremony and heard that they are promoting a movement called “Wake up and smell the Dharma”.They will wake up at 5:30am and listen to “Wisdom at Dawn”, even if they have to return home.They watch it wether they are in the office or at home. This group of young people mutually inspire each other to watch.When the time comes , the make each other up.Then they prepare to turn on.The television or computer to listen to“Wisdom at Dawn”and smell the Fragrance of Dharma.
Listening to their sharing ,every one of then seems very determined and the movement is very successful.They are forevr connected through this friendship as they continue to promote this spirit to the next generation.
Think about it,children like this are certainly wonderful with their families are exceptional youth in society ,and have great ability to pass down Right Dharma.They have kindness
benevolence , loyalty and filial piety.They after more than their immediate families,they can affect many people ;over a thousand are already taking part.
They can continually pass this on Our big Tzu Chi family is already in so many places. We all share the same mission,do the same things. We are not all related by blood ,but we do the same things. In such a big family ,don’t you think we need patience ?We have different family cultures and different levels of education,different ages ,and also speak different languages.
So don’t we all need to be patient?We need a lot of patient to open our hearts. Although patient can be tiring,this is part of our spiritual practice.When wouldn’t we need patient in our practice?
We patiently endure lack of sleep ,moments of extreme cold,and many other things. We are patient with other people’s attitudes and those of voice.We must be patient every day. Although being patient may be difficult,if our hearts are open we can accommodate everything,promote Bhddha- Dharma in our daily living and continue turning this Dharma-wheel.
So ,we “help everyone with undiscrimination minds”.We treat everyone as equals.We do not discriminate between yours and mine.“You live in worse conditions”“You are less educated”
No ,we treat everyone the same“We help everyone with undiscrimination minds”.
We teach those who are rich.We help those who are poor.We teach the rich and help the poor.As we help the poor , we also inspire them to realize their riches.
Bhddha- Dharma is the dew that nurtures everything. I hope our Wisdom –life can grow constantly.
So ,if we can “help everyone with undiscriminating minds ,”“and not allow harmful thoughts to arise “isn’t this the most kind and benevolent mind ?This is like an elder caring for his children ,for the next generation. They younger generation needs to be loyal to friends , filial to elders. It is as if we are all one family. For nine generations of a family to live together ,
it takes a lot of patience if we are all one family,don’t we need to cultivate even more patience?
We cannot just have a little , we need a lot.Then we can open our hearts and “in every life and in every place , we will be kind , benevolent, loyal ,and filial ,help everyone with undiscriminating minds and not allow harmfull thoughts to arise”.
Everyone learning Buddhism takes hard work.If we are unwilling to put in the work ,
how can we practice ?if we do not practice , how can we attain a kind ,benevolent and open mind in every lifetime and in every place ?
So ,let us always be grateful and help everyone with an undiscriminating mind.Teach the rich and help the poor.Do not allow any harmful thoughts to arise. So in our daily living ,we face everything by being open ,patient and accommodating.
Always be grateful.
Everyone , please always be mindful.
(Source: Da Ai TV 靜思晨語 法譬如水)