All the Bodhisattvas and the Buddhas warning us that the Bodhisattvas have always been there to help us all the time, even lifting us away from hell, if we were repentant and sincere, and given another chance to redeem our mistakes. Some still do it again because habits die hard, even habits from former lives, still coming back, haunting our subconsciousness. So, try to resist mightily, whatever we think is not good.
You have to watch more closely what they do for you, how you feel when you’re with them. How they tell you the truth for your own good but not arguing over petty things. How every time you’re in trouble and they’re around, the trouble seems to be solved or lessened. And of course, “Enemy” is the opposite. But it’s very difficult to discern the enemies. But there are some tricks, I can tell you afterwards.
We’ll talk about friends first. And friends, sometimes, also are very protective of you. If someone else harms you, or slanders you, or talks bad about you, or does bad things to you, they’re always on your side. Enemy, of course, is the opposite. Not only they don’t sympathize with your troubles, they even talk to you like you are the guilty one, make you feel even worse. Like it’s all your fault. Even if it’s your fault, it always takes two to tango. That’s what people say.
Friends, they are always there when you’re in trouble. And their energy will always lend you some help, even though you don’t know it; they also don’t know about it. But you just feel comforted when you’re around them. And you two seem to get on well in many subjects. Not all subjects, not all things, of course; nothing is perfect in this world. Even in architecture, when they build a house, they deliberately make something wrong in some corner of your house; not dangerously wrong; it’s just something not perfect, so that the house will be safe and stay long. I guess to make it less perfect, so that the house will stay safe longer and make people happy inside. That’s what they believe.
But of course, the house alone, the Feng Shui alone, is not 100% safety-proof or happy-proof for you. You must have also the worth to live in there, and to live a perfect and a good human life according to your merit and your goodness in your heart. Some people, even if they live in a bad house but they’re so pure, so good, everything even bad becomes good. Actually, in our group, we should also experience that.
Many years ago, when I first came to Taiwan (Formosa), being blind, deaf, and dumb to the world, I also didn’t know much about Taiwan (Formosa). Used to also being kings and queens and all that. I used to do what I wanted and my order would be law. So, when they said, “Oh, it’s raining a lot, it’s wet for disciples; it’s sunny, too hot; rainy, too wet; winter too cold; autumn is too nothing. So, we should build a little roof for everyone.” OK, we built a roof. And later they said, “But the wind and the rain are still flying in.” And they said, “Master, we have to make some walls.” But we didn’t really make walls; maybe it was just like plastic sheets and cover, etc. But then, I don’t know, somebody went and reported it or something, and then somebody else came and demolished it, the so-called meditation hall. So, we had nowhere to go. We just planted more trees hoping that, like the Buddha, we’d sit under the Bodhi tree, and we might become Buddha.
We planted a lot of trees, and because of many trees, it’s like a forest. You know in Hsihu, right? It’s like a mini forest; trees are everywhere. If you’re not careful, you’ll bump into trees all the time. When you’re in samadhi and walking around, you be careful. And we always have to trim the trees so that it doesn’t overgrow. Otherwise, we will have no more land because Hsihu is small already. Similarly, here we also have to trim. Trim some people who are not really useful. For the majority and for the practice of everyone else, so we trim them. Just like trees, sometimes you have to trim some, because the tree might grow too far into your house and obstruct your door or your windows or take up your space; you trim some.
So, at that time, we planted many trees overnight even, me and the monks and nuns at that time, the residents, long-term residents. And we planted also at night, because sometimes we could not wait until the next day, because it might be too hot and the trees would wither and it was very difficult. So, we had to plant a lot because we were in a rush of time also. If we didn’t plant it well on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, then on Sunday people could not come, because of the heaps of dirt everywhere and trees were laying down everywhere or topside everywhere. It was also dangerous for the children. And the holes everywhere in the ground, it was not safe. So, we hurried, hurried. We planted sometimes all night through. And because of the many trees, we call it “Holy Forest Big Hall.” Holy Forest Big Hall. Word by word translated like that.
Actually, the big hall, it means the place where you gather to meditate, to listen to Master’s lecture, so they call it “big hall.” Even in the temple, they call it the big hall. Means where the Buddha statues are placed, and people come to worship or meditate, if they do, or listen to the abbot speaking if he does. So, we call it the big hall also. Actually, there’s no hall. “Da dian” means “big hall.” The hall normally has a roof and the walls around it; meditation hall or any hall like that; just, we had no hall at all.
They’re still nostalgic for the old times, when they still had the little meditation hall before. It was made of simple stuff like sheets of metal. At that time, I didn’t have a lot of money, because I did not do any designing or modeling yet. I didn’t think about that. And then we just used very inexpensive material just to cover from the sun and the rain. But later, it was demolished, so we planted trees instead. We were just a group of practitioners, didn’t know much about the building regulations and stuff like that. We thought, “Oh, it’s necessary to build, so we build.” And I thought the Taiwanese (Formosan) people knew what to do and the Taiwanese (Formosan) people thought Master knew everything. “Master knows what to do, so, OK, we build!” Later, we knew better. Have to apply first for permission. Nevertheless, we already planted trees. It’s very difficult to dig them out. They are growing, growing everywhere already. So, we call them “Holy Forest Meditation Hall.”
And just now, they dug out one of the ancient predictions, and one of the seers, he mentioned about our Holy Forest and I said, “Wow, that’s pretty cool.” So, that means anything that happens has a good reason. And I had to wait 30-some years to see it. We all did. We all had to wait for 30-some years to see the reason why somebody came and demolished our so-called meditation hall before. And then we have a Holy Forest Meditation Hall, which fits perfectly in the big plan of the universe. We shouldn’t have built that hall in any case. But I remember now, I don’t know if they still have these tapes, that I was talking to the residents at that time, because they were so upset that somebody was going to demolish their house. They were not really attached. They thought it was a place, the holy place where people came and meditated, for the disciples, and why do people even come and do that? And they were thinking of coming out and lying on the street to stop the bulldozer from coming to demolish the hall. So, I was laughing. I talked to them laughingly, saying, “Oh, somebody really wants to use human skin to protect the metal skin.” Because the metal sheets… In Chinese, I said, “You are using human skin to protect the iron sheets.” I remember saying that, but more I don’t remember. I just comforted them and then made them laugh so much, that we all laughed, and then, we didn’t care anymore, whether or not it was going to be demolished or not. So, it was like that.
These tapes probably were never published because it was just for the residents, and we just talked about this incident only; nothing, I mean, nothing much. Well, maybe there could be some lessons in it. But we didn’t think. I didn’t let them publish. I didn’t think it was something to publish.
Maybe one day, they will dig it out. Because these Supreme Master TV people, Supreme Master Television staff they are so good, they dig out everything. They dig out many of the photos that I never thought I had. They dig out some of the talks that I never thought I even had spoken. And they dig out so many ancient predictions, that I never heard of; even many other lifetimes. They keep digging and digging. Wow, my God! And I’m also, for the first time, seeing this. I told you the only predictions I knew a little bit, not the whole thing, because it’s very famous in France. I was in France and I was studying French, so I knew some, because people told me, but I wasn’t anything wiser, because I wasn’t practicing anything. So, I didn’t know anything anyway. So, they read it and I heard it and then it went from here out the other ear. That’s it. That’s the only person I knew about predictions in my whole life. And now, they’re digging out so many. Whoa! From Europe to America, and then now South America and then to Âu Lạc (Vietnam) and Korea and whatnot, I don’t know.
I’m also like you, very excited, waiting to see what else they can dig out from the treasure of the world. So, now, when I see these predictions, I think, “Wow, so it fits perfectly. Maybe that’s what it’s meant to be.” Luckily, I didn’t let the residents come out and lay on the street to do the protest. Because the bulldozer, maybe it doesn’t know anything about ahimsa. It could cause some problems. Humans might know, but the bulldozer is just a machine. It knows nothing about the Five Precepts. And you don’t provoke that big, strong, powerful, mindless guy. Besides, whatever happens, happens. That’s my philosophy. Whatever happens, happens. You just accept it and maybe something good comes out of it at the end. Maybe you have to wait forever, but who cares? Who cares? That’s the way it has to be, then it has to be.
So, we learn a lot also from Lord Mahavira here, that He accepted everything, because maybe His soul knew that this is good for humanity, for all beings. Or His soul also remembered maybe in the past lives, when He was sojourning on this planet, maybe He also did something not appropriate and now it’s His turn to reap these consequences. Even Shakyamuni Buddha said that He was kicking the head of a dead fish, and then He had headaches for some time, even after He became Buddha already.
We are born in this human body and we are not allowed to know many things. Therefore, a lot of times we do wrong without realizing it, especially without anyone teaching us in advance, without a wise teacher to tell us what’s right from wrong. And even then, if somebody taught us, sometimes we still can do wrong because the mind and the maya pushing it; and our karmic background from (past) lives coming back also leading us astray, making us do things wrong; or the situation forces us to do something that we don’t like to do, but we just have to.
Therefore, all beings are really, really pitiful, very, very pitiful indeed. But in the Ksitigarbha Sutra, Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha Sutra, remember, all the Bodhisattvas and the Buddhas warning us that the Bodhisattvas have always been there to help us all the time, even lifting us away from hell, if we were repentant and sincere, and given another chance to redeem our mistakes. Some still do it again because habits die hard, even habits from former lives, still coming back, haunting our subconsciousness. So, try to resist mightily, whatever we think is not good. Because the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas warned us that, if after we have been redeemed and given another chance, and if we do bad again, if it’s too grievously bad, then we’ll be in hell forever. No one can help us anymore. Remember that? (Yes.) Well, they said no one, meaning mostly, mostly. Maybe there are one or two mighty Saints who could help us, but that takes long, long, long eons, kalpas, until this Person or this Being comes down to this planet and helps us in that situation. I mean, help once and for all, for good. But then, we still have to suffer a long time already, like forever. In the old saying, they say one day in prison is like three years outside in freedom. In hell, imagine all the suffering and the punishment and the pain and sorrow, no end. No end. Imagine how long will that seem, even though it’s already like kalpas or eons passed already. Understand? (Yes.)