重法 重師 重實踐
圖 / 靈鷲山網路電視台文 / 文獻中心
Honoring the Dharma, the Teacher, and the Practice
To learn Buddhism means to honor the Dharma, the teacher and the practice. How can your days be pure and bright if you don’t honor the Dharma, the teacher and the practice? They will just be days that are obstructed by karmic baggage.
When we learn Buddhism, we first have to get clear ideas. Once our ideas and ways of thinking are clear, our views will be right. When everything is unclear, we produce a lot of problems that are caused by our delusions. When we learn Buddhism, our practice needs to be guided by the right principle, and our views need to be guided by our practice. Practice means that which we want to realize. When we learn Buddhism, we first need to have clear ideas, because without clear ideas, we easily produce all kind of problems. Why then do we need to study the scriptures? It is in order to penetrate, to understand the principle so that there are no hindrances left whatsoever. Where is this principle to be found? It is to be found in our way of thinking, in books, in our life. If the principle is just in our thoughts, but does not translate into practice, our practice will easily go astray.
If our principle is “thought is thought, action is action,” this is fake, only written on paper. In our lives we have to integrate principle and action so that there is no hindrance whatsoever, that we are completely free in everything we do and encounter. This means that we don’t give rise to emotions, we don’t harbor delusions, we don’t cause karmic obstructions, and we don’t act in contradiction to the principle. If we understand this, if we can completely integrate principle and action, this is called practice. If by practicing we are able to reach our goal and attain a result, this means that our practice is the right one. If not, it means that our practice is wrong.
Every day we talk so much and are engaged in so many things – how is it then that Shifu doesn’t talk about those things at all, but only speaks about practice? Is that not strange? This is because of a itching point here: you are beleaguered by too many troubles. You try to grasp with all your might those things that you need not grasp for at all, and you don’t grasp those that you should. And so you are not even able to scratch what really itches you. I start from the place from which you can set out, from the place which does not itch at all, namely the Buddhist Dharma, the place of practice. It is good to walk there, on this place without any fixed notions or ideas. Let us go there often, and value our practice. Which practice? It is our practice of wisdom and compassion in the midst of our daily life. Without wisdom we easily give rise to troubles, and without compassion we have no merit. Wisdom and compassion are the place where we realize the power of our vow, the vow to enter the Bodhisattva path life after life, world after world, to learn Buddhism and become a Buddha.
We are now walking on the path to become a Buddha, an Awakened One. To do so we need awareness and realization. Awareness means power of observation. Realization means understanding. When we use our power of observation, we need to understand the true form of reality – that everything comes into existence through causes and conditions. We need to understand the principle of karmic retribution, and we need to know how to create good causes and conditions so that we no longer create those troubles that cause us to turn in the wheel of samsara, the wheel of life and death.
Dharma Master Hsin Tao
(Translated by Maria Reis Habito)