What constitutes a great experience? A miracle? Why must one expect a miracle just because he has begun to walk the spiritual path? If this must be so, then the entire world will be filled with the greatest happiness and no one need be poor, sickly or dying! One should realise that his having met with the Dharma, has begun to recite the Buddha’s name, has at least entered the spiritual path, there are great miracles indeed. Daily, if one is aware, miracles abound but he has eyes but see not Life itself is a miracle, it provides one to attain the highest of goals. Life itself is a great experience, for one is able to know his mind and to purify it! Life itself is the greatest lesson which can be filled with miracles and unusual experiences. But they do not come as one wills it.
To be able to have awareness of the miracles of life, the experience with the Divine, one must be deserving and one must exert great effort to attain this state of being. Short cuts to it will not be easily attained and even those who seemed to be so, they are the result of efforts of their past lives. Therefore, always be patient with yourself and the result of the practice, a seed cannot become a tree within the space of a few days just as a mere calling of the Buddha’s name is not likely to bring about the satisfaction that one desires.
Dharma knowledge is important in spiritual practice. If the way is not known how can anyone ever hope to traverse with hope and confidence? The duty of those who know is to give sincere instructions to those who know not. Those who do not know must not be arrogant and impatient with those who are trying to help them but find difficulties in expressing themselves clearly. Life is thus a lesson for one and all. The teacher and the students are both learners at the same time and they must both practise patience if any good is to arise out of a teaching.
Those who come here have various reasons to do so. Each must play his part if they are hoping to derive some benefits and of their visits and practices. Each must search his heart and learn how to live in accord with the Dharma. There need not be special signs to be seen or felt. The purpose is to attain self-purification, develop devotion and striving to practise the virtues of Kuan Shih Yin and all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. This is a great step forward into a new life and through the process of learning and disciplining themselves, realise the difficulties of subduing their own wild natures and therefore have to be very patient with themselves and with others. To be able to experience the result of their practice, they cannot set any time limit at all. To become a perfect being takes incalculable lifetimes. If even a short period of practice is so difficult through unreasonable demands, then it is difficult for one to practise long enough to receive the necessary foundations, then it is quite impossible to go through this lifetime with right practice.
How great are your desires? Are they reasonable or demanding? Are they noble or selfish? It is of course natural for anyone to wish for this and that, but one has to be reasonable and one must only develop noble aspirations. There are so many who pray for so many things which are damaging to their well-being in the long run. What Bodhisattvas would want to give assistance for the attaining of such goals? Many say that if the Bodhisattvas are really such great compassionate Beings, why do they not fulfill all their wishes and cause them to be happy beings? This is the thought of an ignorant person and they must think deeper, if what they wish for are deserving of help? Wisdom is what that each practitioner must develop. Through it, the simplicity of the Dharma can be perceived and then this great path of self-development will be appreciated. How generous are you as a person? If you cannot give how can you receive? Before one can take, one must learn to give and this is the essence of practice. To be generous to those whom you love is not a great or benevolent act, it is but a shade better than giving to your own self.
To be able to practise giving to those who are in need and know you not, that is real giving. It means that you have the heart of a bodhisattva and therefore the great Bodhisattvas will do their best to look after your interest and welfare even without your asking them to do so. If you are a person who cannot give to anyone else other than your own self, how can you ever attract the help from the Bodhisattvas? Only the deserving deserves what they get. If you are one who will not lift a finger to help even those who are near and dear to you, you are the meanest of all and you are no different from a beast.
If you are one who will only help those whom you know only, you are still a very selfish person at heart and it is not likely that you will find the Buddha’s path to be suitable to you. Minus the compassionate nature, there will be no Buddha heart so where is the practice? Each day search your heart and cleanse your mind as the Buddhas have taught. This is, in itself, the greatest experience that you will ever have, leading you into understanding of the self and of others! To have conquered yourself from laziness, to have developed a compassionate heart, to have set yourself onto the Great Path of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and succeed in the attainment, that is the greatest miracle that you should wish for, seek for nothing lesser than that and this will be the life of all lifetimes!
Thursday, 21st November 1985
10th Moon, 10th Day