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Blog » Sweet Dews Of Dharma Talks » 2015 » Unity Is Power

Unity Is Power2015-01-31


Spoken by Dharma Master Heng Rong
English Translation by Genglin Zheng

At this Dharma ending age, it is difficult to be a vegetarian. Additives such as fish sauce, poultry gravy, or other animal ingredients are often detected in vegetarian dishes. Ill-moral merchants have lost their conscience. Life in the old time was simple; merchants dared not do such ill deeds. But nowadays, so many news reports tell us the chemical additives in tofu, instant noodles, etc. Such is the very unfortunate era that we live in. But we have responsibilities, we must work hard so that the proper dharma dwells in the world; we must exert our power to bring about changes.

Some people may feel like saying, “Are you serious, Dharma Master? Can the power of one person be enough to change the world or to cause the proper dharma to dwell?” Indeed one person can. As long as we learn the Buddha dharma, follow the teachings of good advisors and cultivate according to the Buddha dharma, it is possible. A person’s upright behavior, over time, can influence people around him. And remember, unity is power. Take for example, if we bend a chopstick, it is easy to break it. But if you join each individual chopstick, one by one, until you have a handful, then you’ll find it impossible to bend and break them as a whole. This is the power of unity. It is only when we exert this power of unity that the proper dharma will dwell.

The Venerable Master once said, since we came to this world, we must learn to recite the Shurangama Mantra; it is a waste coming to this world if we are not able to recite the Mantra. You may say: I am an elderly, how am I able to recite it? Yes you can, as long as you are determined.

I knew an elderly, she was 65 years old when she started reciting the Shurangama Sutra— Shurangama Sutra, not Shurangama Mantra. When I saw her the next time, she had memorized the entire sutra. It took her around 10 years. Now look at people like her and think for yourselves, “Can I do that?” Let’s give ourselves a positive answer: “I can do it, I will not be left behind.” This is not about fighting or wanting to be number one. It’s about wanting the proper dharma to stay in the world. We must work hard to make this happen.

Next let’s talk about education. DRBA has a book with talks by the Venerable Master called “Education to Save the Country”. Another book is called “Morality to Save the Country”. The Master’s talks, though easy to understand, are methods to raise your children and grandchildren to be upright people.

Generally speaking, it is easier said than done. Parents should set an example and be mindful of their own words and deeds. Children identify with their parents. What the grownups do, children will follow -- this is teaching by example, as children are influenced by what they see and hear. Recently I read an article about a school kid. He was a quiet child. Because he stuttered a little bit, he didn’t talk clearly. It took him a few minutes to finish a sentence. His classmates ridiculed him. During class time, whenever the teacher asked all students to recite a text in front of the class, he would always surely fail. He might say a few words then stop with a blank stare, not knowing what to do. The teacher would get very angry and scold him, saying: “Stupid, go back to your seat.” Such was how the child was sent back to his own seat.

The child had no friends. None of his peers bothered with or talked with him. Occasionally, one or two peers were nice to him by saying a few words with him, and that would make his day. He would return home in high spirits, telling his mom with gestures what he and his classmates talked about that day.

This child’s health was probably not in the best condition. His nose often bled for no reason. When his nose bled, his mom would tell him, “When your nose bleeds, just lie down. Don’t move. Use tissue to wipe the nose clean so that the bleeding stops.” One day at school, his nose bled. Remembering what his mom told him, he dared not move. But he used up all the tissues in his pocket. For whatever reason, blood gushed from his nose on that day. He had not a single sheet of tissue left; blood soaked his clothes. But where were his classmates?

His classmates drew closer to take a look. Not caring the least bit about him, they said, “Oh, how terrible! How disgusting!” Then they ran away one by one. The child didn’t know what to do, but to let the blood flow freely. At last one of the classmates went to tell the teacher; the teacher hurried to inform the parent. The mother rushed to the school and took her child home. The mother was sad when she found that her son was the only one left in the classroom when she arrived at the school. The child was left alone. What would have happened if the child’s bleeding had been fatal? The sight broke her heart. The child cried and asked his mother: “Why didn’t anybody bother? Why did my classmates left me alone bleeding? Why didn’t they care about me?” The mother, very sad about all those questions and words, hid herself in the restroom and wept. Then she dried her tears and returned to her child and told him: “The reason that your classmates left you alone is because they were terrified by your nose bleeding, for they never saw so much blood. They didn’t know what to do. They wanted to help you but they were not capable, so they ran away. In the future, if you came across people in difficult situations such as yours, you should help them. You must offer your assistance to comfort people in need, so people would not be feeling what you felt now.” The child absorbed what his mother said.

One day after school, everyone was leaving for home. It had just rained, there were many small loaches along the road. The school kids caught the loaches for fun. The child was left alone walking all by himself. The monitor was among the kids playing around. All of a sudden, he fell into a hole. The hole was quite deep and full of tree leaves. All kinds of filthy stuff fell into it and became slime. The monitor sank deeper and deeper into the filthy, stinky hole, helpless. His classmates passed by him, but no one had the courage to help him, instead, they all ran away. The child came by, seeing his classmate in the hole, left alone and helpless. This reminded him of what his mother said, “You should give a hand to people in difficulty.” He immediately gave his hand to the monitor and pulled him upward. Try as he may, he could not do it alone. Many kids, seeing him trying to pull the monitor up, came around to help. The monitor was rescued with ease. The monitor smelled terribly. He had slime all over his body, face and hair. The kids screamed, “It smelled terrible!” and ran away. But the child took out the new handkerchief his mother bought him, wiped clean the monitor’s face and took off his own clothing for the monitor to change into. Then he accompanied him home.

The child’s kind deed was mentioned by the school authorities. People were moved. A child disliked and despised by his peers extended his hands to help and rescue another child. How great was that!

From this story, we can see how important parenting is. A wise mother can succeed in rearing her child. But where does wisdom come from? Even though wisdom can be said to have come at birth, but it is no use if one does not work hard subsequently. According to the principles of cause and effect, why do you have wisdom? It is because you have done secret good deeds to help others in your former life. Accumulation of such secret merits brought about your wisdom in this life time.

In addition, where else does wisdom come from? It comes from precepts and samadhi. When a Buddhist disciple takes precepts and upholds them, it brings about samadhi. With samadhi comes wisdom. So if one does not uphold precepts, he will not have samadhi nor will he have wisdom. The most important thing is: one should learn the Buddhadharma. Don’t let your life go by in vain and leave this world empty-handed. Even worse would be to leave with a lot of bad karmas.

Everyone has their own unique karmas. Every family has their own problems. “Why am I a member of this family?” This is also a result of the force of karma. For example, quarrels between a husband and wife or a father and son are all retributions from past karma. Had there been no debts from former lives, there would be no coming together in this life. Now that the coming together has taken place, one should endure the suffering. One should endure it with joy. Even if one couldn’t endure it with joy, one should at least accept the retribution. Only when the debt is paid off can a person be at peace. For now, let’s play the responsible roles of a Buddhist disciple. Take good care of the family and help others when possible. I am hopeful that these small efforts can produce great power. So let us work in unity to change society for the better. This will benefit us now and into the future.