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Blog » Sweet Dews Of Dharma Talks » 2017 » wisdom



Dharma Talk by Dharma Master Jin Thai

English Translation by  Michael Lu

It is still the period of the Spring Festival and the Lunar New Year, so we would like to first wish everyone a happy Lunar New Year and peace and auspicity in the coming year. Everyone has delightfully come to Gold Sage Monastery to cultivate together. As the saying goes, “The best time of the year is spring, when the plants grow and flourish,” springtime represents a new beginning for all life and is a most idyllic season filled with vitality.

The Dharma Masters in charge of the monastery as well as the kitchen crew put in great effort. Today is Sunday, the 9th day of the first lunar month, and also the birthday of Lord Shakra. Because of the celebration of the Lunar New Year, we specially invited elders from the Elders’ Dharma Study  Group to join us at the monastery. Besides the array of delicous food and dishes, the children in the Sunday Buddhist School also performed and wished the elders a happy New Year. Everyone was filled with Dharma joy.

What is happiness? We investigate the Buddhadharma in hopes that we can be happy ourselves and that others can be free of afflictions. However, the direction in which every person pursues happiness is different, so the internal feelings that they experience also vary. Some people attain true liberation through happiness, while others lose themselves in the midst of the pursuit of happiness, causing themselves much affliction.

The Venerable Master instructed us, “When you encounter any circumstance, if you can understand the situation clearly and correctly, know what to do, put things down and attain self-ease, then that is happiness.” Every person probably wishes to experience this wonderful principle and these benefits. Therefore, we must learn what exactly is wisdom. Let us rely on the wisdom of the Buddha as well as that of cultivators in the past to help us understand what wisdom is.

The two characters that comprise wisdom in Chinese refer to the same thing: one is its substance and the other is its function. The character “zhi” contains the character for “knowing” above the character for “sun,” which symbolizes how your light of wisdom will shine everywhere once you recognize the truth, just like sunlight. Being confident and correct in deciding what one should think and do is known as “zhi.”

Then what is the other character “hui”? It is a kind of understanding. When we are able to understand principle thoroughly, that is known as “hui.” The Buddha, who is most perfect in wisdom, shares that great, perfect wisdom with us living beings in order to teach and instruct us. Actually, the source of afflictions for living beings originate from the “self.” Because we focus too much on the self, we are unable to attain self-ease.

The Venerable Master said, “Buddhism is the teaching of wisdom. We self-educate ourselves with the Buddha’s wisdom, aspiring to successfully cultivate our Buddha-nature and wisdom-light so that they are equivalent to that of the Buddha.” The Venerable Master also said, “Whoever can put down the “self” understands the Buddhadharma. I am not that different from all of you—the only difference is that I have no self.” The Venerable Master has a yet another saying that goes, “People are corrupted by name and profit and die because of emotion and desire. People say yes to the trivial matters of name and profit, but nobody guards against the essential matter of birth and death.” We should educate ourselves in the Buddhadharma in this way.

The Venerable Master taught us, “If we don’t get angry, then the wisdom inherent within our natures will unfold bit by bit.” When we encounter states, we should recite the mantra of patience—“Patience, patience, gotta have patience, don’t get angry, suo po he”—to calmly resolve situations and allow there to be no obstructions. We should live in harmony, because harmony brings Dharma wealth. We hope that everyone will be willing to take a loss everyday so that everything can be peaceful and auspicious. The purpose of tying Dharma affinities is to repay the Buddha’s and Venerable Master’s kindness.

When one sees a happy person, one vows that all living beings will always be peaceful and happy and will delight in making offerings to the Buddha. Let us vow that all of this merit can be universally transferred to all beings throughout empty space and the Dharma Realm. Let us vow that all living beings can always be peaceful and happy and not undergo illness or suffering. Let us vow that all living beings can bring forth the resolve for great kindness, compassion and Bodhi, and that they can transcend the Three Realms and quickly attain Bodhi. We should vigorously practice the Pure Land method, reciting Amitabha’s name as if extinguishing fire on our heads.