A drop of water is minute and feeble. But when many drop come together, they can become a stream that breaks rocks. A caterpillar is slow and unattractive. But emerging from its cocoon, it is lovely butterfly fluttering in the sun. Deficiency is inherent in life. It lies deep in the heart of things. We should use deficiency and transform it. Then, at last, we will understand that deficiency is just another form of beauty.
If we have fir, belief, we can easily adapt to ant situation, doing everything with a happy mind and in a state of equanimity. Firm belief always finds a way. In this world, it is wholly "as it should be" for us to dedicate ourselves to giving joy to others and to increasing their faith. With this kind of resolve, we will always be above gain and loss, fame and slander, suffering and joy. We will always do our best, whatever must be done.
Parents who treat children with "three parts guidance and seven parts friendship" find that they are both their flesh and bold and their friends. Teachers who embrace the broad-mindedness of "three parts guidance and seven parts friendship" find that their pupils are both their juniors and their contemporaries. Supervisors who employ "three parts guidance and seven parts friendship" find in their subordinates both colleagues in work and comrades who share their joy and sorrow. Husbands and wives who carry out "three parts guidance and seven parts friendship" find mutual respect and tolerance. How wonderful is the good affinity in "three parts guidance and seven parts friendship"!
Founder of the Fo Guang Shan (Buddha's Light Mountain) Buddhist Order and the Buddha's Light International Association, Venerable Master Hsing Yun has dedicated his life to teaching Humanistic Buddhism, which seeks to realize spiritual cultivation in everyday living.
Master Hsing Yun is the 48th Pariarch of Linji Chan School. Born in Jiangsu Province, China in 1927, he was tonsured under Venerable Master Zhikai at the age of twelve and became a novice monk at Qixia Vinaya College. He was fully ordained in 1941 following years of strict monastic training. When he left Jiaoshan Buddhist College at the age of twenty, he had studies for almost ten years in a monastery.
Due to the civil war in China, Master Hsing Yun moved to Taiwan in 1949 where he undertook the revitalization of Chinese Mahayana Buddhism. He began fulfilling his vow to promote the Dharma by starting groups, student and youth groups, and other civic-minded organizations with Leiyin Temple in Ilan as his base. Since the founding of Fo Gauang Shan monastery in Kaohsiung in 1967, more than two hundred temples have been established worldwide. Hsi Lai Temple, the symbolic torch of the Dharma spreading to the West, was built in 1988 near Los Angeles.
Master Hsing Yun has been guiding Buddhism on a course of modernization by integrating Buddhist values into education, cultural activities, charity, and religious practices. To achieve these ends, he travels all over the world, giving lectures and actively engaging in religious dialogue. The Fo Guang Shan organization also oversees sixteen Buddhist colleges and four universities, one of which is the Universities, one of which is the University of the West in Rosemead, California.
Merit gained from donating the seven treasures of the cosmos of the three thousand great chiliocosms will not equal the merits gained from upholding a short verse of wisdom.
What exactly does this mean? The day will come, the Buddha is telling us, when the riches we donate will be exhausted. Our donation of knowledge, skill truth, and the Dharma treasure, however, has no limit and cannot be overdrawn.
Sometimes a few words, like a four-line verse, is enough to change a person's life. The Universal Gate magazine asked readers to contribute one-line proverbs. And I have seen memorable quotes by famous people in newspapers and magazines. Without doubt, even a few brief words can touch countless lives. I have often wanted to share passages that greatly influenced me. Later, I realized that I really wanted to collect in a series of books the many words of encouragement by my benevolent teachers and gracious acquaintances. That would show my appreciation. That was the motivation behind Hsing Yun's Hundred Sayings Series.
I feel many different emotions when I think about the past. When I heard Venerable Chih Feng say, "Don't become the withered bud or rotten seed of Buddhism!" I hastened to take the Bodhisattva vow. Venerable Master Chih K'ai's words, "Spread the Dharma to benefit all living beings!" moved me to never forget my formidable responsibility towards humankind or the mission to which my master assigned me.
In my youth, I was once called an underachiever. Worse, I was deemed useless. But it spurred me to live up to my potential. I never doubted that I could always make up for my weaknesses with added diligence in becoming a person of worth!
In the past, many encouraged and praised me, or slandered and criticized me. Whether from kindness or cruelty, their words invariably became positive causes and conditions on my path towards cultivation. They also formed the favourable and unfavourable, but always facilitating, conditions enabling me to learn how to conduct myself.
As paddies produce crops of rice and the lotus thrives in mud, the state of the environment is not nearly as important as our being a healthy seed. For only a good seed produces good fruit. One must allow the nature of spring, summer, autumn, and winter the wind, frost, rain, and snow to become the causes and conditions of one's growth. Through all vicissitudes, we must never lose sight of growth and progress as our purpose in life. Today, I rejoice in my personal worthiness and virtue, correct perception and knowledge, as well as good affinities with many people. For this I thank the Buddha's benevolence and the kindly conditions from all ten directions.
In Hsign Yun's Hundred Sayings Series, I do not want to indulge in lofty eloquence or see any words and phrases wasted. I only want to convey snippets from my past and my thoughts on the one-line verses from which I have benefited greatly.
Sometimes I do not feel as if I entirely understand the circumstances in which I find myself. At other times, because if my advanced years, memories of past events are beginning to fade. Those fervent devotees who ask about my past keep prodding me no. I wish to leave them some personal reminiscences while I can still speak and write of them. May those disciples who followed me into monasticism find among the Hundred Sayings guidance and inspiration.
Starting in July 1992, I began contributing monthly to the Hundred Sayings column in the Universal Gate magazine. The entire collection of Hundred Sayings will probably take ten years to complete. Such and undertaking – a marathon in life – must depend on how long I am able to run, how far I am able to walk!
To date, sixteen pieces of the Hundred Sayings have been written. To comply with everyone's wishes, these will go to press, while the rest wait for another day.
Lastly, I would like to thank the Global Views Monthly and the Universal Gate magazines for featuring these articles from Hundred Sayings. I would also like to thank Venerable Man Kuo, a graduate in accounting from Fu Jen University and a graduate from Fo Guang Shan's Buddhist college, for her help in recording my words. But most of all, I would like to convey my sincerest gratitude to the Triple Gem of all directions and the devotees preserving the Dharma, without whose contribution, Hsing Yun's Hundred Sayings would simply never be.
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