開山祖師惟覺安公老和尚 – 智慧法語

Wisdom Words from the grand master



To believe that every one of us, and every sentient being, has buddha nature; that in affliction there is bodhi; in seeing, hearing, feeling and knowing is our inherent buddha nature. This is right faith. Thoroughly understand that all dharmas are ultimately empty in nature and that all phenomena are as illusory and unreal as a dream, a mirage, a bubble, or a shadow; this is [also] right faith. 


With samadhi, this very mind can always be in command and undistracted by circumstances. With wisdom, we can see things truthfully, and know when to move forward or step back, and what choices to make. With samadhi and wisdom attained, we handle all affairs clearly and properly. As a result, we can be accomplished at school, in our career or in Buddhist cultivation, and we can better follow the various causes and conditions to practice the bodhisattva path. 


Gradual cultivation means to enter [the Way] by practice, in which the principle is realized through the practice. Sudden enlightenment means to enter [the Way] by principle, in which the practice derives from the principle. If there are no conditions for sudden enlightenment, there is always gradual cultivation. Gradual cultivation and sudden enlightenment are seemingly two methods, yet they are interrelated; there is no contradiction between the two. 


To realize the Way and attain buddhahood, causes and conditions must come together. Even though every one of us has buddha nature, realizing the Way and attaining buddhahood requires our sincere determination, for this is the cause. In addition to our aspiration for attaining buddhahood, conditions must be timely, and we need to learn from a teacher of great knowledge and establish right views. In this way, we will not be misled or sidetracked from the path. 


The ancients say, “For a peaceful mind, a humble hut is comfortable; for a calm mind, simple food is flavorful.” As the mind settles, a hut is no less than a palace of the seven jewels, and plain food is more than delightful. But for an afflicted mind, even the most exquisite dishes can taste like wax.


“All the Dharma the Buddha has ever taught is for the purpose of healing our minds. Of what use is the Dharma without these minds?” All the many Dharma gates work as antidotes. To purify the three karmas—physical, verbal and mental—proper self-discipline and countermeasures are necessary. A person who can well tame their body, speech and mind and take this very mind to nirvana is called a “Skilled Tamer.” 


Constantly reflect on whether or not we are keeping our three karmas pure. If not, we remain ordinary beings in the cycle of samsara. If so, we are wise beings liberated and at ease. [Just like] turning the hand from one side to the other, affliction is bodhi. Everyone can do this; it completely depends on whether or not we do the work. 


Everyone has a richly jeweled garment. Our practice is to dust it and clean off the stains. Once the stains are removed, instantaneously the jeweled garment is revealed for our endless benefit. Nonetheless, great vows and persistence are required of us to wash off the dirt. This is why we must make great vows, and through our practice our vows are fulfilled. 


A sutra says, “Anything can be accomplished with a focused mind.” This is how the mind works. In every moment observe the six senses to keep them from clinging to any of the six sense objects, and from being carried away by circumstances. If the eyes cling to a form or the ears to a sound, immediately regret and repent. This is the most practical cultivation, which will lead to liberation in this life. 


“Behold the precepts as the teacher.” The precepts are important because they help us stop our transgressions. By way of upholding the precepts, we steer our body, speech and mind away from wrongdoings. Every moment we keep the three karmas pure then we will be able to resonate with the bodhi mind. This is why the precepts are fundamental to the Buddhist cultivation toward enlightenment. 


By way of self-reflection, observation and contemplation, we transform ignorance into nirvana and completely extinguish the three delusions—our false views and thoughts, dharma ignorance and fundamental ignorance—in the mind, which then becomes the bodhi mind, the pure mind, a mind full of brightness and at ease. This is our everlasting Dharma body and life of wisdom. 


The Diamond Sutra says, “If even the Dharma should be abandoned, how much more so the non-Dharma?” The unwholesomeness of this world and its offenses such as fame, fortune, lust, discrimination and resentment are all the non-Dharma. To say that “even the Dharma should be abandoned” means that we do not cling to any wholesomeness; rather, we let it all go. How much more so, then, should we let go of the unwholesomeness of this world? 



Cultivating the bodhisattva way means making the great resolve to liberate all sentient beings. Therefore, we need to study extensively to enhance our knowledge and skills, develop our integrity, and nurture our ability to deliver the Dharma. Just like a doctor needs to be familiar with every kind of prescription to treat various illnesses, we need to learn the Dharma prescriptions starting now.


When we react to others’ accomplishments with heartfelt joy and praise instead of envy and interference, we are getting rid of our own jealousy and gaining great merits at the same time. When we help others to accomplish good deeds, we are bringing merits and blessings not only to others but also to ourselves.


When we thoroughly understand the principle of causality and the unconditioned, that the suffering we face in this life is the karmic consequence of our past transgressions and therefore accept adversities willingly, our karmic obstacles will dissolve. Furthermore, when we deepen our insight and know to face hardships without distress, recognizing this mind that knows is not swayed by any conditions—right then we will be free from attachments and afflictions, be in accord with the Way and attain liberation.


When facing any situation, we need to stay mindful in using our senses. When the six senses come into contact with the six sense objects—sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and dharma (mental object), immediately contemplate—“all appearances are illusory”—this is wisdom.


Faith can be deep or shallow, based on principle or practice, on cause or effect. We should always irrigate faith with the water of wisdom and compassion so it can take root and withstand the eight kinds of wind. Without deeply rooted faith, we will easily lose our bodhisattva resolve and the will to attain the Way whenever we encounter external influences.


The ancients said: “Action is like a mountain; vow, an ocean.” Actions and vows are two wings of a bird. Everyday, after affirming our vows with prostration, we should take steps to fulfill them in our daily life—for vows guide actions; actions fulfill our vows.


The ten Dharma realms arise from this very mind. Whenever we conceptualize anything, our mind is already trapped in the cycle of rebirth through the Dharma realms. If we do not recognize this and turn our mind around, our karmic consequences will result in the cycle of physical rebirth. If we truly understand this, then we will understand the nonduality of physical form and mind, that principle and phenomena are one in suchness.


There are two aspects of observing the precepts, with action and with the mind. When we commit verbal and physical transgressions but feel regretful and repent afterwards—this is to observe the precepts with action. When we are mindful of the precepts so we have no scattered thoughts or false views, when we purify our action, speech and thought and accord with the empty nature of reality—this is to realize the essence of precepts—the unconditioned Dharma of the mind. Through upholding the precepts with pure actions, our pure mind will manifest itself.


Practice adapting to conditions with our best effort; cultivate all good deeds without any attachment; always abide in our non-arising and non-ceasing true nature. Although we know all worldly things are illusory, we should still play our roles in life sincerely. When we realize this truth, we can cultivate the bodhisattva path—“sit at the water-moon monastery in serenity, do dream-like buddha works wholeheartedly”—this is the true Dharma. 


Not knowing thoughts are illusory, sentient beings follow their deluded thoughts and generate afflictions and bad karma. However, knowing thoughts are impermanent, ever-arising and ceasing, our mind reflects on and stays mindful of itself, then deluded thoughts will gradually cease. At that time, the mind instantly realizes its intrinsic state of absolute stillness—this realization, or prajna wisdom, will liberate us.


A great Chan master said: “Realizing the right view is more important than just doing the practice.” In Buddhist cultivation, the most essential thing is to have right views. There are 84,000 Dharma gates or methods, but why do we practice them? why observe the precepts or sit in meditation? The correct understanding of the goal and meaning behind our practice is what is meant by “right view.”


Dedicating merits is like lighting a torch and passing it on to others—from one to ten, from ten to hundreds. The brightness of our own torch not only does not diminish but keeps illuminating one another; in the same way our dedicated merits continue to grow and multiply.



Buddhism teaches Dependent Arising, which means everything happens due to the coming together of specific causes and conditions. To accomplish anything, the right conditions must be present. However, we do not wait for this to happen; we should strive to create and develop them ourselves. Therefore, we say, “before we become a buddha, first make good karma with people.”


When the mind is calm and still, its power will manifest naturally. “Tolerance brings peace;” a mind of tolerance frees us from the bonds of afflictions. It can also bring forth the power of samadhi and enable us to attain non-regression from our bodhisattva resolve. This power is true power.


The principle of causality in Buddhism teaches us to be mindful of our conduct and relationships, starting with our motives and thoughts. Give rise to good thoughts only, never bad thoughts. Always reflect to improve ourselves from within. Be strict with ourselves but kind to others. In this way our merits will continue to grow.


Words and speech of the Dharma are like a finger pointing to the moon. The finger merely points the way, while the moon is this very mind, with which Shifu is speaking and everyone is listening. Once awakened, this mind will naturally illuminate everything like a full moon.


External conditions are ever-changing, yet all changes follow one underlying principle. As long as our mind is in command, we will have the power to transform external conditions, turning misfortune into blessings, difficulties into opportunities.


Laozi said: “Studying is a daily accumulation; cultivating the Way is a daily subtraction.” Through studying, we accumulate knowledge and skills, whereas in cultivating the Way, we constantly reflect inwardly, gradually diminishing our afflictions. When this mind has truly attained peace and tranquility, its infinite virtue and wisdom will naturally manifest.


“A room in darkness for a thousand years is lit just by a single lamp.” The wise are able to shatter the darkness of ignorance and confusion, not by an electrical lamp, but by the light of wisdom. This wisdom light is just this very mind with which Shifu is speaking and everyone is listening. This mind should always abide in right mindfulness, be still in suchness, and be clear and aware.


The goal of cultivation is to see our true nature, which is actually within our afflictions. When we practice by following the nature of our mind, we will be able to see our true nature and transform affliction to enlightenment. In Hinayana, one eradicates afflictions to attain enlightenment. In Mahayana, one transforms affliction to enlightenment. In the Ultimate Vehicle, affliction is enlightenment.


When this present mind does not think about the past, present and future, and is without delusive and wandering thoughts, it is a mind of samadhi; when it is clear, lucid and aware, it is a mind of prajna wisdom. The nonduality of samadhi and wisdom is the unconditioned. However, the unconditioned mind does not hinder the arising of conditioned phenomena, and without attachment to conditioned phenomena, the mind is unconditioned.


“Water can carry a boat; it can also overturn a boat.” When there is no wind and the surface of water is calm, the boat will sail smoothly to the other shore. But when waves surge, the boat may overturn. Our mind is like water. If we give rise to wholesome thoughts, speech, and deeds, our life will become brighter and brighter, like water carrying a boat smoothly forward.


The Dharma teaches causality and the original nature of mind. While causality deals with phenomena, the nature of the mind is their underlying principle; they are two aspects of one unifying truth. If we get attached to things and ignore their principle, we become the mundane. When we focus only on the principle and do not put it into action, we fall into an empty state. However, when we realize the nonduality of phenomena and principle, we are in the realm of bodhisattvas.


It is said: “When the mind is pure, the land is pure”—when our mind is purified, this world will be a pure land. “When the mind is peaceful, the world is peaceful”—when our mind is calm, our society will naturally be stable. “When the mind is even, the world is even”—when our mind achieves the absolute equality of nondual suchness, the whole world will be at peace.



The Buddha Dharma teaches us that our mind is the Dharma Realm; a dark mindset fills the entire Dharma Realm with darkness. There is both good and evil in our mind; however, within a single thought, the mind is enlightened, and the darkness of tens, hundreds and even thousands of years will be dispelled without a trace. 


The Chan patriarchs said: “stand firm and stay firm.” Standing firm means after one has realized and found a footing in the “non-arising mind” in which no thought is raised, one firmly dwells in this realization, whether things are going well or getting rough. Staying firm means to practice regularly so one can maintain the state of non-arising. This is cultivation.


To avoid bad karma, we must understand the principle of causality. Be diligent in doing good deeds and correcting misdeeds. This is the way to free our mind from bad thoughts, from affliction and worries, from gains and losses. Our mind will shine in radiance and our health will improve.


“When at rest, rest all thoughts; when in action, perfect all actions.” We must abide in right mindfulness: think only good thoughts, say only kind words, do only good deeds. Rest when it is time to rest; act when it is time to act. Practice good deeds without attachment, and then return to the state of no-thought. With confidence and commitment in this teaching, we will always make progress in our practice.


Be true in all our endeavors. In studying, cultivating merits, learning the Dharma, or Zen meditation, be honest and sincere. When we apply this principle in our daily life and Buddhist practice, we are truly cultivating merit and wisdom.


Giving can eliminate greed and hatred, remove karmic obstacles, and increase merit and wisdom. Giving can also help others overcome their difficulties, leading to the opportunity to hear the Dharma, and eventually uproot their afflictions. Therefore, giving not only benefits ourselves and others, but also fulfills the bodhi path.


The bodhi path is a path of merit as well as wisdom. Merit is doing good deeds. Wisdom is doing good deeds and cultivating compassion without attachment, without the notions of self and others. With wisdom, the bodhi mind will manifest.


Cultivation is simply to “become skillful with the unfamiliar and become unskillful with the familiar.” Learn to disengage from past delusions and conflicts, and become skillful at various forms of cultivation such as meditation and sutra recitation. Step by step, through commitment and patience, the sweet fruit will come with hard work. This is the best way to cultivate.


Giving praise and rejoicing in others’ merits not only eliminate envy but also generate great virtue and blessings, which are shared by the givers, receivers and supporters alike.


Ordinary beings have many karmic habits and make frequent missteps in speech and behavior. The way to rectify this is to observe the precepts. By observing one precept, we overcome one karmic habit; by overcoming one karmic habit, we purge one affliction, and with the purging of all afflictions, the Way will manifest.


“One who respects others will always be respected. One who loves others will always be loved.” Compassion helps us transcend the notions of self and others, and resolve hostility. As Buddhist practitioners, we especially need to cultivate compassion. As a sutra states, “Behold the friendly and the hostile equally; neither harbor grudges nor despise malicious people.” Let us broaden our minds to practice the bodhisattva way and liberate all sentient beings.


In our daily life, our six senses come into contact with external objects every moment. When we encounter objects to our liking, greed and craving immediately arise. Therefore, we need to always reflect and examine our thoughts. When an affliction arises, detect it and turn it around right away, so we can maintain this present mind in constant samadhi and wisdom.



“Spring is the time to plan your year. Morning is the time to plan your day. Diligence is the way to lead your life.” Success is achieved only with effort; there is no free lunch in life. Not only should we work hard, we should also put our efforts in the right direction, so  we do not detour or take the wrong path.


 “A thousand-mile journey begins with the first step.” The first step is the present mind; apart from it there is no other mind. Deluded or awakened, it is just this mind.


To cultivate the Way is to realize the Way. This begins with awakening to the present mind. Then we practice being the mind’s master, whether we are moving or sitting, resting or working. When afflictions arise, transform or dissolve them. As afflictions are eradicated in due course, the bodhi mind, the pure mind, will manifest.


When thoughts arise in our minds, we need to distinguish between the “visitors” and the “master.” The visitors are our delusive thoughts, coming and going endlessly, like dust in the air. The “master” is that which recognizes the delusive thoughts, like the empty space in which the dust floats, boundless, always unmoving.


There is a saying: “If one cannot tolerate the small aggravations, one will upset the whole plan.” Tolerance brings peace; it is a crucial Buddhist practice. In our everyday life, we may encounter positive or negative situations any time; face them with tolerance and patience, then we will progress in our cultivation.


Right faith is faith grounded on wisdom. Like a bird with two wings, right faith can fly us from the shore of samsara to the shore of nirvana, from the darkness of ignorance to the light of bodhi.


To attain samadhi means to always maintain mindfulness. Wherever you are, that is where your mind should be. Adhere to this principle in life: “In quiet meditation, reflect on our own deeds; in conversation, never gossip about others’ faults.” Always examine our own mistakes and correct them as soon as we discover them.


Cultivation is a process of self-examining, and not of quibbling about others’ faults, or judging others’ right and wrong. If we are being slandered, do not get annoyed, angry, or complain. Remember “rumors are stopped by the wise”; the truth will surface in time.


Being content is superior to being rich. The discontented, albeit having wealth, are always in distress. The minds of the contented are at ease and peace every moment—this is true wealth.


The Middle Way means the Zen mind. It is inexpressible, yet what is spoken is right to the point. It is inconceivable, yet the wisdom flows without rumination. Whatever one effortlessly touches is the Way. Such is the wondrous power of Zen.


Giving praise to others help eliminate impure speech. Rejoicing in others’ success or good deeds overcomes our jealousy. If we all uphold pure speech, learn from and commend others’ merits, and practice charitable giving and kind words, our society will be filled with harmony.


Buddhist cultivation requires long term commitment. Buddhahood is attained through persistence and mastery of the six paramitas and the eighty-four thousand Dharma teachings. If one is motivated for one day and slack off for ten days, lacking commitment and diligence, nothing can be accomplished.



Blessings come from doing good deeds and making beneficent connections with others. If our past deeds have brought us hardships, now is the time to be diligent—turn misfortune into blessings, and open up a world of new opportunities for ourselves.


“Great is the kindness that is unconditioned; great is the compassion when all are one”—this is the bodhisattva way. Practice loving-kindness and compassion, then Guanyin Bodhisattva is in your heart.


Buddhism does not advocate love and passion. It is not apathy but rather an elevation of love to loving-kindness, to care about others’ children as if they were your own. With a mind of equality, this loving-kindness is infinite and boundless.


A Chinese proverb says, “Saints have many faults. Sages have fewer faults. Ordinary people have no faults.” Reflect inward and discover your own faults instead of judging and criticizing others’, then your mind is a pure land without strife, cool and peaceful every moment.


Cultivation is not the study of doctrines, nor should it do without the doctrines. Without the teachings as a guide, we can easily stray from the right path or mistake some small insight as true enlightenment. When our minds are troubled, studying sutras or attending Dharma lectures can correct our views, calm our minds, and quickly turn our afflictions around.


The change our fate, we should focus on the cause instead of the outcome. The Buddhist teaching of causality tells us that what happens in our lives come from our own efforts. Understanding causality means we can create our own destiny.


It is said that “before you become a buddha, make good connections with people first.” The foes we make now will return as difficult people who create trouble for us in the future. Therefore, make it a habit to appreciate and praise others’ good points instead of disparaging their shortcomings or making things difficult for them.


“Fear not a thought arising, but a thought undetected.” When a bad thought arises, see through it right away. Having committed bad deeds, turn around immediately onto the path of virtue, vowing never to make the same mistakes again. This way, every step will take our life toward a brighter future, leading ultimately to liberation.


The right cause for being successful in all endeavors is the cultivation of person and mind. Equally important are helpful external conditions. When both come together, success is ensured. Thus the saying “things are easily accomplished with the right cause and conditions.”


A Zen master once said, “Be unmoved by the wind of joy, unstirred by the wind of anger.” Observe that all phenomena are illusive manifestations of causes and conditions. Unmoved by external circumstances, this present mind will have the power of stillness and wisdom, attaining self-mastery and liberation.


A practitioner should reflect inward and examine each thought. Is it a wholesome thought? An unwholesome thought? A mixed thought? Or is there no thought? Check how many faults and bad habits we still need to remedy. If we have done wrong, repent and amend right away.


Foremost in the Buddhist practice is learning how to let go. When we can let go of all our afflictions and attachments, our mind will be free. Freedom of mind is liberation.



The core of Buddhism is human beings; the core of human beings is the mind; the core of the mind is pure awareness, which makes enlightenment possible.  With this understanding, life has direction and purpose; it is no longer occupied by worries and meaninglessness.


We should act mindfully, knowing when to advance and when to retreat. If we do not advance when conditions are right, we lose opportunities.If we do not retreat when it is time, we invite disgrace.  Making the right decision requires wisdom.


Be mindful each moment. Do not dwell in the past, present or future. The past is past, to linger on it is pointless.  The future has yet to come, to speculate on it is wishful thinking.  To worry about the present is to be trapped in fleeting, inconsequential thoughts.


Maintain a mind that is clear, lucid, still, and free from discrimination.  A mind of stillness is samadhi.  A mind of clarity and reason is wisdom. The oneness of samadhi and wisdom is the supreme bodhi mind.


In meditation, we let our thoughts settle.  Do not let the mind wander or become drowsy.  Be aware of each thought.  Neither delight in something good nor worry about something frightening.  Remember, “All forms are illusions.”  Maintain mindfulness without clinging to the duality of existence and emptiness. 


Harboring no thoughts, the mind of the present is unborn and undying.  Do not give rise to thoughts of purity or impurity, gain or loss.  This mind is as it is.  “The myriad phenomena all derive from this mind of non-dwelling.”  This is the true reality.


“Be mindful of the buddha of our original nature.  Read the sutra that is wordless.”  Whether we are chanting the Buddha’s name or reciting a sutra, the purpose is to overcome our afflictions and ignorance.  What is most important is to realize that there is a wordless sutra within each of us—our intrinsic, pure awareness. 


The sutra says, “The Buddha Dharma is here in this world.  There is no enlightenment apart from this world.”  Practicing Buddhism empowers us to deal with any circumstance through observation and mindfulness, leading to enlightenment.


Frequently peer inward, reflect, and reform with a mind of compassion, respect, tolerance, and harmony.  By taking a step back, you instead expand your horizons.  Truly transforming yourself in this way, you will discover that everyday is a good day, any time is the right time, and that there is reward in every endeavor.


Maintain a mind free of attachment.  Neither enjoy praise nor resent defamation.  Do not crave, cling, grasp, or reject.  Let the bodhi mind manifest at all times—this is true bodhisattva practice. 


Enlightenment is the realization of the original mind, that all is just as it is.  Zen cultivation is the practice of overcoming defilements, to ultimately just letting be.  Therefore, true cultivation is non-cultivation.  No matter what the circumstance, at work or at rest, facing prosperity or adversity, during daytime or nighttime, we can always practice Zen.


The ultimate repentance is to realize the true nature of the mind and abide by it each moment.  This will cleanse all sins. Hence the saying “one light dispels the darkness of a thousand years.”



Zen (Chan) is like a fountainhead.  Once the source is found, this water will be inexhaustible.  It is a pool of living water, not lifeless, nor stagnant.  Discovering this  original mind is like finding the fountainhead.


Buddhism teaches us how to transform our thoughts by always being mindful of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. Use good thoughts to overcome bad thoughts. When all bad thoughts are extinguished, then completely let go of even our good thoughts,  until we finally return to the state of no-thought.  No-thought is the Middle Way; no-thought is the Reality.


Maintain the mind with compassion, equality, respect, and humility at all times.  Continuously think about helping others, this mind then, is always the pure land of peace, liberty, and brightness.


“No-thought” is not “blanking out thought,” nor is it like an unfeeling rock. It is a mind of clarity and awareness, absent a single delusive thought.


Whenever we encounter a painful or distressful situation, all we need to do is wisely, clearly observe and understand what is happening, and then turn our concept of suffering and distress into a state of joy, liberation and tranquility.  Actually, vexation or joy exists only in a single turn of thought


The ancient says, “The old man lost his horse. How could one tell it was not a blessing?” A situation may appear to be bad, but it may not be bad necessarily. Understanding this principle, if we can be patient and persevere no matter when happens, we will be able to change our life.


Always examine yourselves for any faults or shortcomings.  Immediately correct our faults if we have any.  Constantly sweep away the garbage—the defilement and ignorance, in our mind. Let our mind be as clear as a mirror, a pool of still water.


“The wisdom and virtues of the Tathagatha” are everyone’s original nature. If one does not raise a thought of delusion and attachment, one can realize at this very moment, this true mind because it is intrinsic and omnipresent. This is the Truth realized by Shakyamuni Buddha under the Bodhi Tree.


Sentient and non-sentient beings arise from causes and conditions; emptiness is the nature. When conditions come together, things manifest; when conditions fall apart, things return to emptiness. Without the confluence of causes and conditions, no phenomenon can be manifested.


Whether the condition we face is gratifying or frustrating, good or bad, this mind should remain totally unperturbed.  Always keep this, as our every-day mind, our wisdom-mind. Every-day mind means the mind unmoved; just as it is.  Wisdom-mind means this mind is perfectly clear.


There are eighty-four thousand dharma doors in the Buddha’s teaching. They are like eighty-four thousand keys. Our mind is locked by the dirt of defilements. Therefore, we need eighty-four thousand keys to unlock the doors of our mind.


All phenomena arise and cease.  The Buddhist practice shows the Way to sorting out that which is nonarising and nonceasing within arising and ceasing.  Amidst all the arising-ceasing phenomena, only this true mind is neither arising nor ceasing.



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.


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 afflictions.  We should constantly harbor a compassionate mind, be lenient toward others, yet be self-disciplined, frequently reflect upon and examine ourselves.


When this mind is master of itself, all the actions of our daily life will be perfectly appropriate.  When we are able to see through our own delusions and let go, our mind will achieve peace and tranquility.


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.


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.


When encountering favorable or adverse circumstances, we shall maintain “tolerance” with right Samadhi.  If we can be tolerant with fortune, we shall not become overly conceited; if we can be tolerant with adversity, our mind shall not be conflicted or illusive.


The Way is not something that we create.  Whatever is created will perish; it does not last.  To cultivate the Way is to eliminate delusive thoughts, afflictions, ignorance, and karmic habits, then the inherent nature of our mind will naturally manifest.  This is the Way.


When we are awakened to Zen, we will be in perfect harmony and be free at all times.  Whether we are hauling wood or carrying rice, receiving guests or seeing off friends, is the Way.  Although our outer environment undergoes myriad changes and transformations, the state of our mind always dwells in suchness and is always clear and mindful.


We shall be moderate whenever working or dealing with people. In work, we shall be neither too rash nor inactive; with people, we shall not engage in self-abasement or self-adulation; when speaking, we shall be neither flattering nor arrogant.


A Buddhist’s attitude towards “causality and retribution” is positive, not negative. In every phenomena, where there is cause there is effect. Only when we make efforts to cultivate “good causes,” will we surely attain “good results” in the future.


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.


This mind must be the master of itself; wherever we are, that is where the mind is. Whether we are walking, standing, sitting, or lying down, our mind should not be scattered and confused. At all times we shall maintain existing awareness.



Cultivation is done in everyday life. Using a mind of compassion and equality to live and work, we cultivate virtue and accumulate blessings. Causality is a true law. Broadly cultivating virtue and blessings, we will easily accomplish what we desire.


Cultivating the Way is to purify, to recify, and to transform our thoughts. When we keep the mind in the state of perfect equanimity, our inherent wisdom will naturally arise.


“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.


Do not be happy when others praise us; do not be annoyed when others blame us. Having no notions of self, others, sentient beings, and lifespan, one will soon realize the Way.


People have afflictions because they are 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.


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 discrimination will diminish and we will naturally be in accord with our pure and inherent nature.


No matter how external circumstances change, if we can see through and let go of afflictions, delusions, and attachments, and have clarity and true understanding, with the mind always in equanimity and suchness, that is Zen.


Afflictions and joy are only within one single thought. The key is, when faced with the problems in life, can your mind maintain tranquility, will you have the wisdom to understand and observe accurately?


The key word in practicing the Way is to “tolerate” – to endure patiently and accept suffering. By accepting suffering, we eliminate suffering. This eradicates karmic hindrances, and prepares us for supreme enlightenment.


In all things, work hard from the cause. With good thoughts as the cause, heaven and the Pure Land are the fruits; with bad thoughts as the cause, the evil destinies such as hell are the fruits.


Having tolerance means being always willing to take a step back and be broadminded. “If we are tolerant, we can attain peace within.” Tolerance can overcome anger and lead to great achievements.


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.



“Respect” means to revere, esteem, and be courteous. The opposite of respect is arrogance. By using respect to overcome pride, we can eliminate karmic obstacles, and increase our merits and wisdom.

儒家講:「愛人者,人恆愛之; 敬人者,人恆敬之。」以佛法來講,就是因果。我們對人尊敬,別人也會尊敬我們。

The Confuscian sage Mencius said, “Those who love others will be loved by others; those who respect others will be respected by others.” This is the Principle of Causality in Buddhism. If we are courteous and respectful toward others, others will treat us in the same way.


If we are respectful toward one another, families will be harmonious, society will be peaceful, conflicts and worries among people will greatly diminish.


Compassion is the medicine that dispels anger. If your mind is compassionate and all-embracing, then people will naturally enjoy being with you.


Practicing unconditional compassion is to treat all people, whether they have karmic affinity with us or not, with the same compassionate mind.


Being vegetarian is a sign of compassion. When we are filled with compassion, our blessings will increase and good health comes naturally.


Not only should we treat people with equality and care for animals with compassion, but we should also protect and cherish trees, plants, even a blade of grass.


Being humble and harmonious in every action can eliminate conflict and violence. Being amiable and congenial with others will help bring together the conditions necessary to accomplish our goals.


To “give others what is good, take responsibility for what is bad” is to have the right view of life.


He who is content is always happy. By giving others what is good, taking responsibility for what is bad, we put the Zen practice into our lives.


Through harmony we find unity. Through unity we have strength.


We need to practice tolerance in this world. Tolerance leads to harmony. When the mind is calm and at peace, we can live harmoniously with each other and have a fulfilling life’s journey. Cultivators should especially practice tolerance. Restrain the body from improper conduct, and restrain the mind from any disturbances. When we attain the stage of “tolerance of uncreated dharma”, then we have realized the Way.


Truthfulness means to be genuine and not deceitful. If we are honest and sincere with others, we can maintain genuine friendships. If we are truthful in our endeavors, we can accomplish all things.


Prosperity and adversity are both expedient means that facilitate our cultivation. Prosperity fulfills us; adversity disciplines us.


“Bodhisattvas worry about causes, whereas mundane beings worry about retributions.” We should be truthful in all our undertakings. Ask only how much we cultivate, not how much we shall harvest. Work diligently on the right causes, and you will surely succeed.