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Words of Wisdom from the Venerable Master Wei Chueh II

  • “A mind in peace is content to stay in a hut; with serenity the vegetable root is fragrant.” If you can harness your clinging mind, calmly abide in the original nature, your mind will naturally be peaceful and tranquil.

  • “The bodhisattvas fear the cause; mundane beings fear the retribution.” We should put in solid effort in all our undertakings. Ask only how much we cultivate, not how much we shall harvest. Work diligently on the right causes, and then you will surely succeed. Conversely, success is unlikely if you aim too high but overlook the groundwork.

  • We should pursue a spiritual life. A mind of contentment and tranquility is the true blessing, prosperity, and happiness in life.

  • The Principle of Causality (cause and effect) in Buddhism teaches us to rely on our own efforts. If we understand our life then we can shape our life. With this insight, we can understand our fate and create our own fate.

  • The issues in the world are no other than suffering and joy. Suffering and joy are relative. Pleasure from stimulation of the senses is like clouds or smoke passing before our eyes; it is short-lived and hollow. After the pleasure ends, unending attachments and vexations follow. Only when we pacify the mind, when the mind is pure and serene, do we experience true joy.

  • In Buddhism we say, “Vexation is Bodhi (enlightenment). ” This means that when we encounter afflictions (distressful circumstances), we must use wisdom to perceive and understand them clearly, turning the afflictive outlook into joy, freedom, and tranquility. “Vexation” and “joy” are, in reality, one single thought apart.

  • “A dharma does not arise by itself, it is born out of the right conditions. ” All worldly phenomena arise from the combination of causes and conditions. Virtuous causes and conditions result in good retribution. Evil causes and conditions lead to dire retributions.

  • “Awaken the mind and see its true nature; Seeing the true nature one becomes a Buddha.”  This is equivalent to the “Amitabha Buddha” of the Pure Land School, which means infinite light and infinite life. Realizing this present-mind, one enjoys the same longevity as that of empty space. The empty space never perishes; neither will this mind, which is replete with infinite life, light, and wisdom.

  • Practicing “unconditioned compassion” is to treat all people, whether related or unrelated to you, with the same compassionate mind.

  • Purity of mind is to be free from the mind of delusion. The Diamond Sutra says, “give rise to the mind that moves freely without attachment” That is the mind of purity.

  • To be liberated is not escaping reality. It is eliminating vexations, eradicating evil thoughts, and untying the knot in our minds. When the mind is opened to true understanding, that is liberation. To face sufferings without worry, and happiness without rejoicing, this present-mind is a liberated mind, it is already in the Pure Land.

  • The Platform Sutra of Hui Neng says, “Let not a single thought arise.” Let this present mind think neither of good nor of evil, so it is like a clear mirror, whose merit lies in reflecting myriad things faithfully. When an object appears, its image is manifest; when the object is gone, nothing remains. When we realize this fact, our mind is clear and luminous; no matter where we go, we can be at ease and free.

  • Favorable and adverse circumstances are both expedients that facilitate our cultivation. What is favorable fulfills us; what is unfavorable disciplines us.

  • What is attachment? Unable to let go of what happens, of gain and loss, of right and wrong, of self and others—this is attachment.

  • The riches and honor in this life are fleeting, like the dew on the flower, evaporating when the sun rises. Only when the mind becomes truly pure and content is it the true prosperity in life.

  • Tolerance is an expedient means in cultivating samadhi. If we are tolerant and patient we will surely achieve samadhi.

  • Praise others frequently and slander no one. When our speech is pure and faultless, then we achieve freedom in verbal karma. (e.g. abilities in speech and debate, free from verbal handicaps.)

  • By practicing respect to overcome pride, we can eliminate karmic obstacles, and increase our merits and wisdom.

  • If you cannot assume responsibility for your own cultivation or endure its trials and hardships, then you are at best studying Buddhism, not practicing it.

  • People have vexations because they are not content. If we always harbor a mind of gratefulness in dealing with people and things around us, we will always feel happy and content.

  1. To recite the Buddha’s name is to invoke our original nature. By invoking the Buddha’s name, we bring forth the Buddha of our original nature. That is the true meaning of reciting the Buddha’s name.

  2. We have a wordless sutra within our mind. By upholding and reciting the physical sutra with words, we evoke the sutra of our original nature, uncover our own inherent treasure, and truly attain an unwavering faith in the Buddha Dharma.

  3. The aim of practicing Buddhism is to free the mind from the influence of external circumstances and maintain peace and serenity within.

  4. If we lack samadhi power and wisdom, are swayed by the external environment, and give rise to vexations, we will never clearly see the reality of all phenomena. Therefore, we must cultivate samadhi (meditative concentration). With samadhi, we will always be in command, and have the wisdom to know when to advance or retreat, to engage or let go.

  5. If we can gather inward the six senses: eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind, and no longer cling to external circumstances, our delusions and discriminations will diminish and we will naturally be in accord with our pure, original nature.

  6. In practicing Buddhism, we begin with “initial faith.” When we have gradually established “right view”, we will have “right faith.” Having the right faith, our cultivation will be fruitful so we will attain “deep faith”, then our bodhi mind will never regress.

  7. An upstanding, unblemished character is the greatest blessing. A purified mind has the highest wisdom. Using blessings and wisdom to live, work, and study, we will succeed in our careers, perfect our virtues, and complete our Buddhist path.

  8. If we practice the Way step-by-step, constantly cultivate blessings and wisdom, unify samadhi and wisdom, and employ both compassion and discernment, we will become just like the Buddha, attaining perfection in all virtues, blessings, samadhi, and wisdom.

  9. The sutra says, “If we practice without giving rise to the bodhi mind, it is like farming without planting seeds.” All Buddhas and bodhisattvas have great compassion as the foundation. Great compassion gives rise to the bodhi mind, and the bodhi mind gives rise to supreme enlightenment. Therefore, in our cultivation, we must first develop a mind of compassion.

  10. By constantly maintaining our mindfulness, we will have wisdom, samadhi power, and always be our own master.

  11. In cultivating the Way, we should not seek and grasp externally; instead, we should probe within to see whether our mind has given rise to vexations. We should constantly harbor a compassionate mind, be lenient toward others, yet be self-disciplined, frequently reflect upon and examine ourselves.

  12. A great compassionate mind is the Buddha mind. The spirit of Buddhism is compassion and equality. To achieve a mind of compassion and equality: first, we should not kill; second, we should save lives; third, we should practice vegetarianism. If we carry out all these, our compassionate mind will manifest.

  13. To practice Buddhism is to learn from the Buddha, to emulate his purity of body, speech, and mind. When we have achieved the highest and most perfect standard in our cultivation, we will attain the Buddha’s compassion, wisdom, and samadhi power.

  14. All sentient beings have the Buddha nature within. Therefore, besides cherishing our own life, we should also respect the lives of all sentient beings.

  15. “Mountain pilgrimage” is a diligent practice of body and mind. The body prostrates every three steps. The mouth recites the Buddha’s name. The mind is also mindful of the Buddha’s name. Diligence of the three karmas of body, speech, and mind can eradicate and transform bad karma. Blessings and wisdom will then increase and everything will be auspicious.

  16. The bodhisattva is not just a kind of form or appearance, but is the pure intention to benefit all sentient beings.

  17. When this mind is master of itself, all the actions of our daily life will be perfectly appropriate.

  18. By treating all people with a mind of compassion, respect, and equality, we can share the brightness and joy of the Dharma with everyone. That is the bodhisattva way.

  19. A mind of contentment, tranquility, and clarity is true wealth and honor.

  20. When we are able to see through our own delusions and let go, our mind will achieve peace and tranquility.

  21. To practice the bodhisattva way means that we act with a compassionate mind in every situation to benefit all sentient beings.

  22. When we realize our original mind and nature through the Zen practice, our existence will be replete with infinite life, brightness, and wisdom, and we can transcend impermanence and the cycle of birth and death.

  23. To extinguish the vexations in our mind is enlightenment.

  24. By respecting others, we elevate our own mind, and live in harmony with each other.

  25. When we have developed a mind of compassion, our mind will be filled with harmony and brightness.

  26. “When dharmas arise, the mind arises.” The mind and the outside world give rise to and condition each other. Through prajna wisdom, we will realize that these are all delusions, that all external phenomena are delusive and have no true substance.

  27. The mind should be lucid and clear, neither thinking of the past, nor of the present, nor of the future; this present mind must always be in command and imperturbable. To abide in “this-mind” is what is called “to live in the present”.

  28. “Without understanding of the original mind, it is futile to study the Dharma.”      Hence, the Buddhist practice does not merely consist of the recitation of the Sutras (scriptures), or making prostrations to the Buddha.  The true merit of practicing the Way comes from the awareness of our own mind and the discernment of our self nature.  Yet, if one has already attained understanding of the original mind, one should not neglect the practice of virtuous acts either.

  29.  Practicing the Way helps us change our perceptions and purify our thoughts, so that    every thought is a virtuous thought.  When all thoughts are virtuous, one can then maintain “no thought”. This way, all karmic hindrances will have no room to appear.

  30. Why are there birth, aging, illness and death? Because the mind, like the ocean waves, is constantly arising and ebbing. Because the mind is changing and flowing, arising and ceasing, the body follows the mind by coming into and ceasing from existence.Therefore we experience birth, aging, illness and death.

  31. Practicing the Way, we must penetrate the nature of all things and learn to let go. This does not mean escaping from them; rather, it is using prajna wisdom and samadhi to pierce the veils of all worldly phenomena. Thus, the mind will not be swayed by the external world; thus, the agitation of the mind-water attains stillness.

  32. What does it mean to have the right understanding and right views? That means to cultivate correctly. If our motivations for cultivation are different, then all resulting merits, wisdom and retribution will be different. True cultivation is to practices all good deeds, without any attachment whatsoever.

  33. What is true prosperity? Counter evil thoughts with good thoughts, so that the mind has no karmic obstructions, no transgressions, and no delusions, until at last even all good thoughts are given up, and one achieves “no thought”. Arriving at the Middle Way Reality, this is true prosperity.

  34. The aim of meditation is to achieve stillness, purity, clarity and awakening of mind.When the mind has awakened, one is truly practicing the Way. The ancients have said, “Hundred of great awakenings; thousands of small awakenings”. This denotes the progressive expansion of the mind and advances in the understanding of life and the universe.

  35. The extraordinary powers in Buddhism are obtained via samadhi. When single-mindedness is achieved, there is instantaneous awareness (such as telepathy). Yet such attainment of extraordinary powers is not the ultimate goal, because one still thinks that the phenomena are external to the mind, that there are external dharmas. The powers coming from having true faith in the Dharma, from practicing the Way, from practicing morality, meditation, and wisdom are the truly extraordinary powers.

  36. People have vexations because they not capable of being content. If we always harbor a “grateful mind”, dealing with people and things around us with a mind of gratitude, we will always feel happy and content.

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