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The Merciful Admonishments of Master Tien Jen

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Lecture Delivered at Zhong Yi Sanctuary

September 11, 1997

The value of the truth does not lie in knowing a lot but in understanding tacitly. Returning to the point initiated by the Enlightened Master is the guiding principle for understanding the truth. Cease letting your heart and mind wander outside yourself, and start looking inward at your true self. Abandon the pursuit of materialism, emotions, desires, and attachments, for all things will soon pass. Change and adjust yourself accordingly before it is too late. If you do not illuminate your heart and keep tranquillity in your heart, destruction will be your fate. Thus, you must maintain an awakened mind and eliminate greed, hatred, ignorance and desire. It is not that Heaven does not love you; rather, your behavior does not conform to the truth, so you should become more rational. Only when you abandon the pursuit of materialism, emotion, and desires can you return to the abode of nothingness. Otherwise, Heaven will condemn and destroy you. It is said that, "A butcher becomes a Buddha the moment he drops his cleaver." This is not exaggeration meant to scare people. Every individual must make a choice, which is the key to his or her ultimate destination. The Kingdom of Buddha is near, if you do not cultivate yourself and become a Buddha, you defy Heaven! For the Kingdom of Buddha is the place where all Buddhas reside, so if you do not conform to the concepts and the requirements of the Buddha, you shall be excluded from the great amassment of souls. Put the teachings of Truth into practice and you will receive redemption.

To receive the Mandate of Heaven from the Almighty, I had to undergo great hardship. As Mencius stated, "When Heaven is going to give a great responsibility to someone, it first makes his mind endure suffering. It makes his sinews and bones experience toil, and his body to suffer hunger. It inflicts him with poverty and knocks down everything he tries to build. In this way Heaven stimulates his mind, stabilizes his temper and develops his weak points." I experienced this hardship so that I could attain enlightenment. As the world is lacking for the truth, I came into this world to realize the ideal of bringing the truth undertake into man's world as it is in heaven. For when you possess the truth, there is no need for argument with others.

Obedience appears commendable on the surface. You may be obedient and filial to your parents, but if your parents ask you not to practice Dao, and you obey them, then are you truly a well-behaved child? The truth is that a truly well-behaved child practices the Dao. Thus, to be my well-behaved means practicing the Dao and to restoring yourself to your true nature. In this way you will become good sons and daughters of Heaven. People come to us not because of what we have, but because of what we have relinquished. If you do not abandon the pursuit of materialism, emotions, and desires, you fall into the traps of the mundane world. But those who are able to relinquish show transcendence and nobility. Therefore if you learn to abandon the pursuit of materialism, emotions, and desires, your mind will become more peaceful and transcendental, in fulfillment of the truth of Heaven and the needs of mundane people, who shall see the glory of Heaven in us. We all are Heaven's angels, and Heaven's angels should guide all beings to know Heaven. However, if you fail to relinquish the pursuit of possession, thereby obstructing the truth of Heaven, how can you guide people? Unless you relinquish attachment, you will be abandoned by Heaven and be rejected by the truth, rendering any practice of the Dao meaningless?

The grace of the Dao of which I often speak should be revealed from within, not merely on the outside. True grace is the ability to reveal the Dao from within, or to put it into practice in daily life. If not incorporated into daily living, it is merely idle talk with no benefit to the great Dao or living beings. Thus, our duty and mission are like this: to familiarize people with the truth and to know God. So it is your vital task to cultivate yourself to become a messenger in fulfillment with Heaven's demands. This is of utmost importance, and must always remain at the top of your mind. If you are mindful of your role as a messenger of Heaven at all times, you will surely become a saint one day.

We must avoid falling into the traps of the unenlightened, whose wisdom is declining and whose thinking is confused. We must maintain a healthy fear and vigilance, lest we degenerate and fall into the transmigration of the soul. Allowing this to happen is akin to abandoning yourself and Heaven, not Heaven abandoning you. Keep fearful and vigilant at all times, maintaining a clear look at yourself, introspection, and prudence in words and actions. Do so and you will become a saint, preventing the waste of the time spent in this present life. The greatest failure is to have been called and yet not be chosen. Since this is the final chance God and Heaven have given us, I hope that you who have been called will do your utmost to assure that you are also chosen in the final reckoning. I mince no words to explain clearly what Heaven expects of you, so that you may understand perfectly, lest you end up with nothing!

Preaching the teachings of Dao should not be a learned process; rather, you should learn how to reach a state of complete emptiness, letting the truth pour into your heart. You should preach the teaching of Dao with a sincere heart, for acting in accordance with one's true nature is the true path and enables you to become a tool of Heaven. When you must give thought to how to preach, you sever yourself from the source of the truth and utter merely man's words, rather than those of the Holy Spirit and the truth. I hope that you can achieve a state whereby you speak the truth spontaneously, without conscious effort, for such are those whom Heaven truly seeks to employ. Spreading the gospel of the truth is all that truly matters. Thus, you should not preach through the screen of your human nature, but rather fill your heart with the truth and let it out to the world, enlightening your brethren to the essence of the Dao. By revealing God's glory in yourself, you show the way to illumination through God. Each of us has a soul and love in our hearts, and through these gifts, you can understand the truth and entire mystery of the cosmos naturally.

You need neither to look outside yourself nor to consciously think; rather, you need only apply your inner power directly to understand all things. Since ancient times, every saint and Buddha used their inner power to attain the Dao, as this is really the only sure path to enlightenment. Remember not to conceive your own path to completion, for you need only to directly follow the road established by the ancient saints and sages. It cannot be stressed too greatly not to attempt to blaze your own way. Many have made such attempts in the past and have subsequently failed to achieve their objective. Do not mistakenly believe that you will be an exception.

Now the time has come, so overcome idleness and refine yourself, for it is your duty and responsibility to sanctify yourself through proper practice. As all brothers and sisters must help each other to perfect ourselves in this life, you cannot shrink from your responsibility. Facing the coming challenges, you must go forward with even greater strength, finding new strength to succeed even where you have never gone before. For faced with challenges, the more one fails the braver one becomes, and the more one fails the greater the degree of improvement. It is by never giving up through such efforts that you will at last fulfill the sacred mission. Everyone must undertake this mission in similar fashion, and I expect that you all can attain Dao and become an angel in the great Period of the White Yang. This is also the hope and expectation of Heaven.

When you are in difficult straits, do not shrink back but pray to Heaven to help us out of difficulty and embrace every challenge. You'll be amazed at what you can achieve this way! Look at the ancient saints and sages. Did they not realize their achievements through blood and sweat? Certainly our practice today trifles in comparison to their sacrifices. So once again, keep advancement in mind as you forge ahead, free yourself from worldly attachment, and take the truth as the ultimate guide.

If you worry too much and are held back by the heavy burden of the ways of the mundane world, how can you possibly awaken yourself and others? Thus, if you want to become a messenger of heaven, you must manifest transcendent conduct and thought. And without a transcendent spirit, how can transcendence possibly be achieved? Thus, it is necessary first to understand your true nature, understand and follow the teachings of your Master, and you will be able to attain the Dao. I will not lead you astray, and he who follows me will surely be able to attain the Dao. In this, you must have firm faith and deep conviction. If those who believe in Jesus can receive eternal life, why isn't it possible for a believer in the eternal truth to attain the Dao? The truth is in our hearts and we must harbor firm faith, for all Buddhas rely on this firm faith to ultimately attain the Dao. Therefore we must follow the example of the Buddhas.

Therefore I am pushing aside the layer upon layer of karma that burdens all people, for this world is stifled by karma. As people make this common karma, I must clear it away so that the truth and the Kingdom of Buddha may reside in this world. We sometime resist the truth unknowingly, and while it may seem that we are helping truth and Buddha, we are actually keeping the truth and Buddha from coming into this world with our sins. When you lack wisdom, you become a helper of the devil. Thus, we should take a good look at our mistakes and make up our mind to turn wrong into right and resolve to correct our mistakes. Unless you do so, you will become a devil when your mistakes remain in your heart. I also feel very distressed because we are here after all in man's world where the devil's hindrance pervades. You cannot say that the devil is not good, but after he occupies your heart for a long time, he will erode you and make you deaf to the truth, by which time you will become his accomplice. Thus, you should be careful in your words and actions, or you will end up resisting almighty Heaven and incurring Heaven's wrath. It is said, "You can escape natural disasters but the crimes you have committed will bring about your destruction." Be careful!

When a man desires to possess things, he falls immediately into the cycle of samsara, or the transmigration of the soul. When he abandons the idea of possessing things and restores to the essence of "nothingness," he becomes a Buddha and the world becomes the Kingdom of Buddha. This world can be changed into a Lotus Land or Kingdom of Buddha with one thought, so today the most important issue is how to attain this goal with one thought. Everyone comes into this world because they desire to possess things, so we are used to possessing things, which subsequently summons the negative power of karma that burdens us and ties us to worldly cares. Thus, if we can free ourselves from the place to which we are attached, this world will become perfect and turn into a nation of truth, goodness and beauty, which we call the Kingdom of Buddha. In this kingdom no one competes for anything or seeks anything, and everything takes place according to the principle of action through inaction, with no transgressions against nature. Confucius described such a Utopia: "No one picks up and pockets lost items on the road, and no one needs to lock their door at night." When every individual knows his place and lives without greed, recklessness and want in his heart, is it not a perfect world?

People corrupt the mundane world with their greed and unprincipled behavior. Thus, change depends on people transforming themselves. When people want to change themselves, they need Dharma to settle themselves. So the point initiated by the Enlightened Master can settle our hearts and help us relinquish greed, recklessness and desire. When this is accomplished, the world will become peaceful and will no longer be torn by war. When no one desires to possess things, then everyone possesses many things indeed, for happy is he who is content. Is this not the very quintessence of the Kingdom of Buddha? If not, what should it be called? When we change our hearts, the world outside changes also. Therefore we need not change it by ourselves; Heaven will help us change it, for 'wishes do come true.' If we do not have wishes, then nothing can be fulfilled. Thus, if you conceive of the Kingdom of Buddha it will materialize. If you do not conceive of it, it will never arrive.

Today we are fixated on intoxication, lust, property, anger, fame, benefits and authority, all of which sink this world into continuous suffering. But when we clear these things from our heart, won't the world become perfect? Thus, it depends on the choices we make, and whether we can all choose the proper path. So today I hope that everyone can fill their minds with Buddha and the truth, and put these thoughts into practice in daily life, and the kingdom of which I speak will arrive soon. But if you constantly give in to the attachments of the human heart, how can this world become the Kingdom of Buddha? Hence you must change yourself first before you can change external circumstances. It is realistic for you to take immediate action to adjust your heart in line with the demands of Heaven, for if you do not you violate Heaven and will be destroyed.

This world is about to enter into the Kingdom of Buddha, and what a propitious time it is! I hope that everyone tries his best to bring this kingdom to fruition. No contribution will be left unrecognized, and you will attain sainthood for the next ten thousand eight hundred years. If you help Heaven to attain this goal, you will be able attain your goal (attain Dao) also. But if you help people commit sins, you will fall into the transmigration of the soul, be unable to transcend the cycle of birth and death, and will be cast away from the great amassment of souls for all of eternity. Thus, you should remember these truths deep in your heart, for Heaven wants to weed out through competition first. You must change, or everything you do is futile. Right now everyone is competing for authority, fame, and benefit in the Arena of Dao, making me too ashamed to face the almighty in Heaven!

I present the best and happiest things respectfully to everyone, for this is why I have come to the world. But people do not understand, and neither do my disciples understand my mind, so how many people are my true close friends? They always seem to go too far or just come up short. So I have no alternative! No alternative! Since times have changed, I no longer travel high and low enjoying the sights of the mountains and rivers, for such recreation is meaningless now. While I used to be fond of such pursuits, now I haven't the mind to travel. This world is about to change, so when the more trips you take, the more you lose your heart to dissolution. Although the rivers and mountains remain the same as before, they are about to change, and people and all things will change also, for great catastrophe is near. You who can be saved should think of those who have not been saved and help them while there is still time. You should not only think of yourself but think of other people, because they do not know they are in a sea of suffering. We see and know that they are in a sea of suffering, so we should extend our hand to them without delay. Go out and transmit the Dao to others, and retrieve your heart after transmitting the Dao. After a short period of cultivating yourself quietly, you will regain your strength. If you do the work of elevating yourself and others, you are an angel and a Bodhisattva. Always keep this in your heart. You cannot only transmit the Dao to others and forget to cultivate yourself. You should point the way to others' true selves and constantly remind yourself to cultivate your true self as well.

This year, I have lost all inclination to travel high and low and enjoy the natural beauties of the world. The scenery of mainland China is renowned for its beauty, but when I visited there I did no sightseeing. Someone might ask me to go, but how can I get in the mood? I am really not in the mood to go anywhere, for all will be destroyed despite its beauty? To sightsee is unreal, so I may as well save myself a trip. The most important thing for Master is to fulfill the mission ordained by Heaven. Once this mission is accomplished, I will not let God and Heaven down, or all the expectations upon me.

Let us do what we can do without delay. Do what you can do now, or you will be overcome with regret when it's too late. I am also doing what I can while there is time. Concern yourself not with what others think of you; rather, just do what you ought to do. That is sufficient. Do not lose touch with your initial heart of devotion and show loyalty and devotion to Heaven. If you serve Heaven wholeheartedly, Heaven will shield and sustain you in the future. If you devote yourself to Heaven, Heaven will give you eternity. Simply said, you should serve Heaven with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

You may appear meager, but you have great power, so you should be confident and think highly of yourself. Do not lose confidence and do not expect or long for end results. Just do your best. Let Heaven arrange everything for us. Do not take issue with the end result but with how much you have done. Have you tried your best? That is all that matters. As the saying goes, "Don't ask about the harvest, ask yourself how much cultivation you have put into it." Put yourself in such a frame of mind and happiness is yours.

The worldwide situation is different now. We see how many calamities have occurred this year. When you see these calamities, you will know that earthquakes and famine harbingers of the end of the age. When nation rises against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and the gospel of the kingdom is preached all over the world as a witness to all nations, that is when the end will come. The time for truth to be a witness to all nations is coming. Today there is a blooming of religions as the Dao is spread throughout all nations of the world. This is Heaven offering a final salvation for people, because the time for the truth to be revealed in the presence of man is at hand.

The Lord treats everything fairly and equitably. I hope everyone understands this. [The Master points out an audience member] Ms. Xu, you are a teacher and so am I. You teach elementary school students and I teach some people who are a bit confused. We should both lead our respective disciples and students gently with kind words. Because the mouth is made for speaking; but not for transmitting gossip, rather for speaking the word of truth, spreading the Dao and propagating the truth for Heaven. In so doing, we can propagate the truth to all nations. Nevertheless, it is vital not to spread further the weaknesses of human nature over the course of propagating the truth, as this leads to inconstancy, and is not such a person a poor person?

Today can it be that the merciful Lord in Heaven arranges this chance for us to meet each other here, and lets me speak the heartfelt wishes I have not spoken for a long time. I realize how cruel the final catastrophe will be, but in this cruel calamity, there is a message of salvation. I hope that you all can recognize this, understand it, and help realize it. Those who have received redemption should save those who are subject to calamity, and lead people from the sea of suffering. For slander that may be slung upon you is only temporary, and it will take perhaps one or two years for you to endure slander and suffering. In time, everything will be all right. However, you must have the assets that can help you escape calamity and help others to walk out of the sea of suffering. Unless you do so, you will let your conscience down. It will be too late for regret, and you will shed bitter tears, for your family members and loved ones will all pass away. How can you let them down?

Therefore, if the transmitters of Dao are insincere, you will also be destroyed. So not only the practitioners of Dao will pass away, but you will also perish with them together? I do not wish to scare you, and you should always keep a tranquil heart, otherwise you will be destroyed by calamity. Never allow yourself to be self-satisfied, thinking that you have received redemption since you have heard the teachings of truth from Master. There is still further for you to go even though you have heard the teachings of truth from Master. You must light the lantern of your heart and bring your heart to a state of peace and tranquillity, as that where redemption lies. Otherwise, how can you be saved? Keeping desire in your heart will keep you from salvation. Lao Qianren said: "Only he who keeps tranquillity in his mind can escape calamity in the clouds." So it is not only Master who tells you this. If you cannot keep a tranquil heart, how can you possibly escape calamity in the clouds? If you cannot adhere your mind to the Heavenly Portal, how can you keep tranquillity in your heart?

If you implore everyone to adhere the mind to the Heavenly Portal and hold firmly to the point initiated by the Enlightened Master, you have a chance for redemption. I can point the way to your true nature, but no one puts it into practice for you. Pointing out is one thing and practice is another. If I guide you but you fail to respond, what good can come of it? Such would be a grave mistake, that of deceiving the Enlightened Master and undermining the patriarchs. What does that imply? Those who do not act according to Master's words and instructions make such a mistake. You can hardly realize the gravity of such a mistake, and failing to uphold the first of the ten great commandments, "To uphold your true self, and to repent and cultivate yourself with sincerity. It is wrong not to consider these questions in everyday life, and to just let me consider them for you. You must keep these questions in mind at all times, and constantly review the ideas and words I speak while you engage in constant introspection. In this way, your diligent practice of the Dao will let you break beyond the shackles of karma. When you do, you won't be mired in your present difficulties. If you desire to break through the bounds of karma, you should read and listen to my teachings over and over, and you will receive Heaven's mercy. I will also help you in my way. When you attune yourself to me, you will be saved. When you reach that state, everything you do will be in line with the truth. When everyone in the world acts according to the truth, Utopia shall be at hand.

This concept must be transmitted to everyone. Even though it may take extra effort, you must elevate your spirit to mingle with the Dao, and be one with your Master. The Platform Sutra says: "The concept of 'self' is the origin of sin. But to treat all attainment as void' brings incomparable merit!" The concept of "ego" will make you fall; it is the biggest sin you can commit. The Buddha Sakyamuni said that "I" was the causal shadow of the six gunasi, the four mahabhutaii were my body, and the causal shadow of the six gunas was my mind. When your body and mind are misled, "I" is generated. You think "I" am real, the four mahabhuta and the causal shadow of the six gunas are real, when in fact this delusion is the beginning of the transmigration of the soul and of suffering.

Your true origin is "nothingness." You come from nothing, yet you always think of yourself. But the self is unreal! It is ephemeral and non-existent. How pitiful you are, to create sins, faults and mistakes from unreality. Such is not the way to enlightenment. For in order to attain enlightenment one must cease making distinctions between oneself and others, and free oneself of worldly cares to allow reflection on the true self and pave the way to enlightenment. I cultivated myself in this way as well, and you too should constantly reflect upon your true self by making no distinctions between yourself and others; nor should you harbor expectations of attainment, because it is necessary for you to reflect upon your true self. This should come as naturally as all the basic activities in daily life, such as eating, dressing and sleeping. If you regard reflecting upon your true self as an integral part of daily life, you will soon get the knack of it.

Never allow yourself to believe that there is a Dao outside of daily life, or you will never be able to mingle with the Dao. You should allow the Dao into your daily life, and treat it as part of life, treating it in your practice as a plain, regular, commonplace entity. For the Dao reveals itself in the way you get along with others, in your attitudes, your thoughts, and your behavior. The Dao is in your every thought and action, so you are inseparable from the Dao. Therefore, "That which is called Dao cannot be separated from for an instant. What can be separated from is not the Dao" (Doctrine of the Mean). Having the Dao to practice and propagate and mingle with in your daily life should be quite a joyous thing. Don't you agree? As Confucius said: "Knowing is not as good as practicing; practicing is not as good as delighting in practicing. Knowing it is not as good as loving it; loving it is not as good as delighting in it." Master has made the Dao a part of his life, and life the Dao itself.

If the Lord is always in your heart, how could Heaven leave you behind? I can't understand why so many people meet with the retribution of suffering. This occurs when they leave God, the truth and their true nature behind. So suffering does not just take place for no good reason. People suffer because they deviate from the Dao, so they endure suffering and become entangled in the transmigration of the soul. But look around us and you'll find that man is enjoying himself everywhere. Yet that is only pleasure amidst suffering, for this man's world is one station in the transmigration of the soul. So if you look for anything real, truthful or eternal in this transmigration, shouldn't it be the place where your spirit belongs? The spirit should return to the true self, because outside of it there is no haven of return, as everything outside the true self is impermanent and ephemeral. And it is impossible to find eternity within the transitory.

Look for eternity in your soul, to be awakened from deep in the heart. Make every effort to know God, to delight in Dharma and be free. You must exhaust all your strength if necessary, as the Buddha Sakyamuni did, ultimately achieving enlightenment and awakening to the truth. From there, he took delight in the Dao and propagated the Dao until his earthly passing. Attaining eternity, he became a Buddha, a great Buddha and a teacher for Heaven and man.

You must make your own choices about how to live your life. You are all so clever, but sometimes people can be the victims of their own cleverness and lose the essence of the Dao. As the origin of the Dao is nothingness, although you possess things, you get nothing; and while you have nothing, you get everything. There are many things that cannot be seen or understood, and so many aspects of the truth you cannot comprehend, because the Dao has no form, no emotion, and no name.

Heaven cannot help but to reveal Master's identity. I don't like it this way, as anyone who knows me in everyday life surely knows. Some people cannot allow themselves to understand this relationship with Heaven. But that's okay. I will do everything I can to fulfill this mission, because if it takes thick skin, I am the most thick-skinned person and never pay heed to what others say about me. We don't need to let people know about everything we do; only Heaven must know. Why must we announce all our thoughts and actions to others? This is unnecessary. That is what is meant by "accumulating hidden merits." If everyone hears about your good deeds, only leads to meaningless notoriety.

Therefore Dao has no form nor substance, and resides in no temple--for Dao reveals itself everywhere. I cannot help but needing a place to handle my affairs, but this is a necessity. For so long I only rented properties and never had a place of my own, but there are too many limitations in not having one's own place. So that's how Sheng An Mountain [Master Tien Jen's retreat] came to be. I decided to create Sheng An Mountain, despite the disapproval of others. I only did so at the instruction of the Buddha, as it is not something I wanted or asked for.

Alas! ... Words are not enough! This man's world is a sea of suffering, for everyone tortures one another. When will people stop hurting each other? We live because we must practice the Dao and achieve awareness of our true nature. But we cast aside our mind and nature and our life, and waste our time on useless discord that causes us prolonged, deep suffering. The afflictions from your brothers and sisters, people, friends, and the power of karma can wear you out. Thus, we hope that by having a relaxed retreat to practice Dao, it would be something to treasure, indeed. We must make the most of such a nice place, bestowed to us by Heaven.

Assume not that the Lord does not bless and protect us. In truth, the Buddhas sustain and bless us tacitly. They guard our well-being as we propagate the Dao, and see that everything goes smoothly while we practice the Dao. They gave us the light of spirit and wisdom so that everyone can come to understand Master's words. Is this not the mercy of Heaven? Is it not the favor of the Lord? Since previously you were unable to understand what Master said before, but now you do, your wisdom has been awakened and the power of karma reduced. Therefore you must always remain thankful and think about how you can repay the favors Heaven bestows us. Then show your mercy, concern and care to others, and you will achieve the goal of revealing the great love of Heaven on earth. This is the revelation of the Kingdom of Buddha. When the great love of Heaven is revealed on earth, the Kingdom of Buddha will have arrived. This is indeed a rare, precious occasion, the only time Heaven will have come to earth throughout the entire current epoch of 60,000 years.

Oh! I am full of hope, expectation, and joy to engage in the most momentous undertaking for people since the creation of the world. Really, I am very happy. I do not know about you, I'm happy. Even when I encounter a major setback, when I think of what we're doing I regain my courage instantly. Everyone knows that I like to help others. I like to see people live happily and hope that the world can be full of hearty laughter and joy. This is the family tradition of Maitreya, grinning all the time. However, everyone must contribute if this goal is to be reached. It requires considerable effort, and a good bit of sacrifice for everyone. Sacrifice some enjoyment of ease and comfort now, and reap the achievement of sacrifices in the future. Of course, it is painful to break new ground ahead of others; the wind is stronger, the tests are more formidable, the slander of others is greater, but there is great happiness to follow the suffering and hardship. I hope everyone can understand this.

We must endure a severe winter first, and when winter passes and spring arrives all the flowers will bloom in profusion. After bitterness sweetness follows. Thus, do not always think only of yourself, but think of all sentient beings. Love all beings so that the great love can be revealed, for small love leads us away from the great love of almighty Heaven. When you are only concerned with yourself, you leave the Lord behind. When you care for people, God's great love will be revealed. For all under creation is one; if you cling to the idea of the "self," nobody can help you depart from the sea of suffering.

To hold love in the heart means caring for oneself and others, because the Nation of Buddha will be built for everyone to attain enlightenment, not just you. Thus, it is called the Pure Land. We all hope to go to the Western Pure Land (Paradise), but here on earth we want to create an Eastern Paradise, to create a Pure Land of Maitreya. Our old patriarch is so great I wanted to be his helper, to help him attain this aim to full fruition. So as I lead us all in working toward this aim together, do not let petty things divide you. Let's all work together as one. When the patriarch attains supreme Dao and transforms this world into a Pure Land, everyone also will be able to attain the Dao. Don't let such a wonderful opportunity just slide by. Seize the chance now!

Hurry up and cast away the attachments of your inner heart, the self, and all external matters. Cast them away slowly and reduce your load little by little, until you achieve action through inaction. Lao-Tzu indeed said it best: "In following the Dao, each day something is lost. Lost and again lost. Until there is nothing left to do." By continually losing, all persistence will vanish at last and you will be able to attain action through inaction, and your true self will be perceived. This is a path to enlightenment. When you keep losing and achieve a state of total inaction, you will be able to mingle with the "void" and the infinite. When we keep accumulating each day, we violate the Dao. If you run counter to the truth, how can you possibly become one with Heaven and attain enlightenment? If you burden yourself with worldly cares, how can you attain the Dao? Thus, you must keep reducing your load. Keep this in mind at all times.

Confucius said, One who can purify the body and mind day after day could be reborn. This teaching is an extension of the concept of continual losing or reduction. Do not accumulate heavier and heavier burdens, for thinking too much will only cause more vexations and troubles. Thus, I try to simplify the biggest issues and troubles, reducing them to nothing. In mainland China, when people say "no problem" or "it's okay," they often use a phrase meaning literally "no matter." I love this phrase, for when there are no matters worry about, then do you not have only the truth in your heart? Matters always pester us, but the truth makes us happy. The truth can make everyone free of worldly cares and make us happy.

You should always cherish the truth so that you will have no need to pray for blessing. You do not have to ask Master to bless you, because you will be safe and well naturally. Let the Lord Heaven bless you directly. The best way to receive blessing and protection is to keep the truth in your heart and constantly reflect upon your true self. This way, you will become the happiest person in this world, for you can free yourself from worldly cares and laugh heartily at all times. How carefree you'll be! So stop worrying about this and that, and about having more and more things. Instead of accumulating things and afflictions, relinquish them and accumulate happiness instead.

You should be able to turn things away, not let them perplex your heart or hold them in your heart. Regard them as clouds in the sky; everything will be okay when the clouds float away. For sometimes it's cloudy, but no matter how the clouds move about, they can never entirely block out the blue sky. Can they obstruct the quiescence of the blue sky? No, they cannot. Look! The sky isn't blue now. Can every day be a clear day? Yes, when you do not let your heart become covered in clouds. Let the sun shine in your heart, and you will be very happy. On a sunny day, the sky is clear and it seems like you can see forever. So if there are clouds in the sky, how can they obstruct the blue sky? Similarly, do not let your heart become clouded over, and you will be just fine. When heart is as bright as the blue sky, you will have the Great Spirit in your heart and will no longer become disheartened. You become a weak person because your heart is covered in clouds, making you a poor and afflicted person. Thus, you should learn how to make your heart as bright as the blue sky.

"All creatures of God are manifestations of the Dao. When you realize the truth from your heart, you gain prescience and insight into all things, placing you on a level with the saints of yore and all the Buddhas, and making the most efficient cultivation of the Dao." Each word of the above wisdom can make you see your true self and make you return home to the hometown of the true self that is like the blue sky. For one's true self is the void, and restoring yourself to the essence of the void can make you return to your hometown. Through "the enlightened way of returning home" and "the precious lessons of returning home," Heaven tells us how to return home. It's so simple to return home, for all creatures of God are manifestations of Dao after all. So you and me both have Dao, and all creatures of God have Dao also. Since everything is a manifestation of Dao, if you reflect upon your true self from this view, you will be able to observe and understand Dao and then come to attain enlightenment. Oh, practicing the Dao can be such a joy, for you abide in nothing. It is said, "The minds of all the Bodhisattvas and Mahasattvas their should not abide in form, sound, smell, taste, touch and the laws of Dharma. They should develop a mind that does not abide in anything. Thus, if your mind does not abide in anything, and does not abide in the six roots and the six gunas, and you can keep tranquillity in your mind, won't you become a happy and free person? One can light the heart lamp because one abides in nothing, and when one abides in nothing, one will be able to illuminate the heart lamp. So free yourself from worldly cares and do not abide in the six gunas. If you continue to abide in the six Gunas after you have lighted your heart lamp, your heart lamp will become dark again, and the inner window of your heart will close. So be very mindful, even fearful over the door of the mind. If you free yourself from worldly worries, the door of the mind will open, but if you allow worldly worries to reside with you, the door of the mind will close. The fine line comes down to a thought. It is the Dharma of the heart, the way to change Human Nature into Dao nature. I simply preach the teachings of the three great religions to you, not what I invent. I preach these teachings with simple words, not abstruse ancient words. All these teachings are the Dharma of the Heritage of Dao--I do not invent other teachings. The ancient saints and sages all cultivated themselves this way, so we have to cultivate ourselves the same way, too. Therefore the value of practicing Dao is to understand Dao tacitly and to gain insight from one's own experience.

Confucius said: "To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." Thus, do not just listen and not think for yourself, or you will be unable to distinguish right and wrong in what people speak, and not even know when someone is deceiving you. On the other hand, it is useless for you just to think and not to learn, for it is you who persist in the false void. Listen to teachings and reflect upon your true self at the same time. In this way, you can be a practical person. So learning and thinking should be combined together, lest you lack commitment or arrive at an erroneous concept to the essence of the void. If you can learn from this, and solve the great matter of birth and death, attaining supreme Dao, you will not waste time and energy in Dao cultivation.

As a vegetarian, you should not be so calculating and choosy in consuming food. After all, diet is just one of the Six Roots. One should have a carefree attitude about eating, putting convenience and necessity first. As Confucius stated, "A learned person whose heart is set upon the Dao, but who is shamed of wearing shabby clothes and eating coarse food, is not worth counseling the Dao." Thus, as a practitioner of Dao, you should lead a simple life and start cultivating yourself to the best of your ability from your mind and nature. It is impossible for you to handle both internal and external matters well, for you cannot make up your mind as to which of two to choose. Many people do not notice this and some do not even know how to practice Dao, and that is why they get nothing in the end.

The teachings I offer you today can help everyone attain enlightenment and reach the state of harmony that is spoken of in the Doctrine of the Mean. You should put these truths into effect and constantly focus on them. If you absorb it and put it into practice, you can lead a truly emancipated, spiritual life, free from worldly cares. If everyone in this world also leads a similar life, what afflictions can there possibly be?

I wish everyone peace, happiness, and good luck. I'll conclude here today. I hope these teachings can benefit you and help you to attain enlightenment.

(1)The qualities produced by the organs of sense.

(2)The four elements of which all things are made; or the four realms; i.e. earth, water, fire, and wind. The inharmonious working of the four elements in the body causes the 440 ailments.