Now is the time for the final calamity and for the Salvation of The Three Worlds. Highly developed technology is accompanied by the disregard of the philosophy of life and the teachings of the sages and the virtuous; the tone of the world is getting worse and human hearts deviate. As a result, disasters and calamities are repeatedly scattered to humankind.
However, merciful God cannot bear to see both the righteous and the stubborn, confused beings perish altogether; thus, the divine mandate has been granted for the Last Salvation. In 1930, Shi-Zun (Master Zhang) and Shi-Mu (Master Sun) were bestowed the Heavenly Decree and took on the mandate of Dao propagation in the Last Salvation. Ji-Gong Living Buddha and countless compassionate Buddhas have been giving all the necessary teaching, assistance and guidance in Fa-Hui (Dao Seminars). Their timely exhortations are to awaken people’s conscience and purify our hearts so as to put an end to the disasters.
The Guang-Hui Cultural Corporation was instructed by merciful Qian-Ren to invite the Literature Department of the Chong De College in the Taipei Dao Society to collect the Holy Revelations of the past years and to edit the series called Bright Wisdom, which is translated into English by the English Department of the Chong De College and many volunteers. For the convenience of the readers, the pocket-sized subject pamphlets are published to make them easy to carry around and read.
Bright Wisdom is loaded with heavenly Dao teachings, every word a sparkling gem and every phrase a golden wisdom that are beneficial for personal cultivation, for family harmony and also good for making a country or the whole world become better. We wish the readers to attentively realize the Truth, to nurture one’s true nature, and to give out wisdom and light to guide the people of the world, to reach the realm of harmony and peace as a repayment of God’s mercy and the compassionate teachings of Buddhas and sages.
The Guang-Hui Cultural Corporation
There are two requirements you need before you achieve virtues: frugality and a true heart. What kind of behaviour should you have in order to be virtuous? You need to do good deeds to accumulate virtues. Turn the knowledge of good in your mind into action in order to acquire virtues; then you will really be true, kind and beautiful.
Being a cultivator, you first need to cultivate yourself to reach perfection. The first thing in cultivating and building up virtues is to rectify yourself. What are “virtues”ˀ Virtues are built up by giving extensively and helping the masses; only when you are merciful and joyful in giving can you have virtues. Therefore, after receiving Dao, you shall nourish virtues, cultivate your moral character, rectify yourself and help others to do so. In this way, you are able to truly build up virtues and accumulate merits.
Examine yourself in everything you do, give more consideration to others than to yourself; this is called maturity. When talking with others do not be judgmental or talk behind other people’s backs. When you meditate, you will do introspection and repent. You are approaching a peaceful state when you do introspection without finding any remorse inside yourself. There is no greater disaster than being greedy; no greater sin than talking about others’ right and wrong deeds.
Learn to be a Buddha. It requires tenacity to learn; cultivate and nourish to have the nature of tenacity (韌). The Chinese character “革”means to repent and reform yourself inside and out. “刀”means a knife, which cuts off those bad habits and tempers you should get rid of. The more you try to get, the less you will obtain. As a philosophy of life: learn and practice tenacity well in conducting your life, then you will be successful in everything.
Get rid of bad habits immediately. Do not leave it until tomorrow. When you notice that you are acquiring bad habits or you already have bad habits, you shall discard them right away. Do not always think that you will do it tomorrow. Maybe in the next minute you will not breathe anymore.
Each wrong motive or thought is already a fault, if you carry it into action, it then becomes a second fault. Then you have committed two faults.
Indulging yourself means hurting yourself.
Do you understand that you are saving invisible money now? You have opened an account in Heaven. After opening this account, you should deposit invisible money into it. How do you save this invisible money? (By accumulating merits and virtues.) You don’t have to be in the temple to accumulate merits and virtues. If you genuinely praise someone, provide expediency to somebody, or do someone a little favour; all of these can accumulate merits and virtues, today. In your daily life, you can put Dao into practice anytime, anywhere.
If you have no complaints and guilt in your heart, you are accumulating merits and virtues. Without complaints, without guilt, you are free from regrets. That’s having merits and virtues. But if you only care about how many merits and virtues you have, and become obstinate in counting them and getting more, then you won’t have any.
When cultivating Dao, do not pay attention to how much you’ve given to other people or how many merits and virtues you’ve accumulated. You have to get rid of that kind of thinking so that you can accumulate real merits and virtues.
Letting people feel hopeful, anytime and anywhere, that’s accumulating merits and virtues. Accumulating merits is not necessarily how much you have done in the temple, it is giving people hope, all the time.
The true meaning of giving does not just lie in donating money, but in whether you have a sincere and honest heart when you are giving It does not lie in how much money you’ve donated, but in whether you have a sincere and true heart or not.
When you are giving, it’s just like you are handing a flower from your left hand to your right hand. No matter where the flower goes, it’s still in your own hand. The more you give to other people, the broader your heart will be. This is the true meaning of giving.
Giving and donating are not limited to money. No matter what kind of giving you do or how much you give, as long as you have a heart, that kind of giving is the best.
Offer your kind heart, face, words, and physical body; these are the four types of donation.
How do you give your “heart”? Keeping your heart pure, righteous, without pollution or evil thoughts is also a giving. As long as your heart is righteous and pure, you won’t have any mental garbage in your mind. That’s also a kind of internal merit and virtue.
What is the donation with your “face”? Always have a smiling face. It will bring happiness not only to the people around you, but also to yourself.
What is the giving of your “words”? Do your best to replace scolding words with encouraging ones. Speak encouraging words to other people instead of criticizing them.
What is the donation of “physical body”? Set a good example of your own conduct. By doing this, you spur other people to follow your example naturally. When seeing others in trouble or difficulty, offer your helping hand to them.
You need to keep up with the times and yourself. This does not refer to your physical body only. Do not be affected by the outside environment, no matter the influence is big or small. There is a saying that human beings can conquer nature. Remember you will learn something when you are not rushed or become impatient in your daily life. If your heart can endure tribulation and confinements, with perseverance you can overcome any hardship. During the process of cultivation, it doesn’t matter if the ordeal is large or small, the tests are many or few; first you must be stable and calm, then ponder and contemplate carefully before breaking it down and solving it.
Hope my disciples are able to build good affinities with people and improve relationships with others; turn bad into good. When things are unfair, be patient. Endure the storms and turbulent oceans, winds will cease and waves will calm down. Remember this, endure and you will be successful and achieve what is destined to be yours. Otherwise, everything will be gone with the winds.
Examine yourself carefully: Hold a self-examination heart and inspect the cause of your shortcomings whether you are in prosperity or adversity. Are you irritable? Are you impatient? Can you bear hardship? Can you resist temptation? Can you take rejection? Can you stand pressure? When you are determined to change your bad qualities, you should be firm like mountains, be virtuous like water, have a great heart like saint and sage, be pure and tranquil like the moon, warm like the spring sun and be as affectionate as the tender wind.
Taste the bitterest of the bitter to be the best of the best. Why do people not like bitterness? Those who refuse bitterness will lack good fortunes. Sweetness begins only at the end of bitterness. Be enduring. With endurance, you will become a Bodhisattva. It is easy to be a Bodhisattva; just perform your human roles well. Because humans are so wilful, humans always care only about themselves and do not care about others. All have their own shortcomings and temperaments. When things do not go the way they wish, rages flare up too easily. The greater the rage, the more damage to the liver. When the liver is damaged, other illnesses will follow; you must be aware of this.
In the beginning of the cultivation process you must work zealously, be positive and patient while you are encountering hardships. With endurance, you are a promising candidate to reach sainthood.
A righteous man would rather shed his blood than tears. If you want to know what bitterness is, you need to experience it. Once you have experienced it, it’s all over. You already have forgotten what it tastes like, because you are out of the tunnel of tribulation and feel boundless as ocean and sky. Why should you carry these burdens with you?
“Fulfill the Heavenly Way in adversity.” When you face unwished and tough situations, you need to remember you are a practitioner of Dao. You have to fight and break through these adversities and difficult situations’ don’t allow yourself to go with the flow and drift with the currents. Hang on and tread through these hardships even if they are really painful for you. Endure what others can’t endure and you will certainly achieve accomplishment. If you retreat when you encounter difficulties, you won’t reach the summit of your life.
When people scold you, you are not angry; when they show you unpleasant faces, you treat them as usual. Then you have attained the level of maturity. However, if you are making mistakes, you must be able to read people’s expressions so you can act properly. To act properly means that you have reached certain level of maturity, too.
When you can accept adversity peacefully, you have the superior quality of endurance. Being able to take temporary setbacks generates no worries. Giving way to others makes you boundless.
What is the real meaning of being strong? It means being able to conquer the foes (e.g. greed, anger, and ignorance) in one’s own mind; to be meek and humble. Do what others can’t do; endure what other people can’t endure. Then your cultivation and practice of Dao will improve.
In Dao learning, be even-tempered, peaceful and composed. This can be practiced by cultivating your mind and True Nature. Rectify this secular mind, eliminate bad temper and bad habits, and nurture the True Nature. Strengthen your confidence among people and in doing things. No matter what trials and setbacks you encounter, do not complain or argue. When there is an argument, it will become a matter of right or wrong. When people are arguing who’s right and who’s wrong, they go to extremes. Then the principles of the Golden Mean are not followed.
You are just like a rubber ball sometimes, a ball with elasticity. Apply force and it bounces high. Therefore, when others force you, there is no need to resist. Transform the pressure into a helping force. Wouldn’t that be much better?
When you kneel down and bow, you are showing respect to the genuine dominator – your own soul, your own life. How do you write the Chinese character “命” (which means “life”)? 人一叩; which means, a person makes one bow. When you’re kowtowing, you are telling yourself that you have to do self-reflections. If you’re too proud and arrogant, how can you do introspection? If you are proud and always think that you are right, then there is no sense to do self-introspection.
Everybody has one’s innate True Nature, Self-Buddha Nature in one’s heart. Therefore, when facing Buddhas, it’s just like you’re looking back at your own Buddha-Nature. When you make bows to Buddhas, it is the same as humbly facing yourself and doing self-reflection. When bowing with your hand sign, it’s like you’re setting an example to practice Dao in this secular world; you know how to be humble and modest. Bend your waist lower as if you don’t want to knock your head on the brim of a low door. Then, step with your left foot forward, as if when you’re taking care of business, you cannot rush things or be abrupt and impetuous. It is like following Confucius’s teaching of the Golden Mean. If you just put things into practice without thinking and planning, it certainly doesn’t meet the principle of the Golden Mean. However, if you keep thinking and planning without action, you won’t make your dream come true, either. So, when you’re interacting with people and doing business in this world, you should do it step by step and make your foundation firm.
So when we kowtow to Buddhas, it’s time to do our best self-reflection. As Zenfucius, a disciple of Confucius, said, “I do self-reflections in three ways every day.” Practice self-reflections in three ways daily, then you can become a saint. On the journey of learning and cultivating Dao, you should know how to adjust and calm your mind and make it peaceful. Learn to change the environment by changing the way you perceive things. Don’t let your mind be affected and controlled by the circumstances.
Rules and proprieties are to help you improve and grow, which will mold you into a standard role model.
When you are kowtowing, be sincere and use your own spiritual light to enlighten yourself.
Stretch your muscles; relax your head and neck. Move your hands and head together. Let your legs support the weight of your whole body. You are kneeling down and making kowtows with your head, not just moving your hands only. For the action of kowtowing, there are proper starting and ending gestures. The movements and gestures of starting and ending are consistent. This is the spirit of Yi-Guan Dao. When you kowtow, be sincere, because the purpose of kowtow is to nourish a heart of respect, humility and modesty. Meanwhile, keeping a correct posture helps relax your muscles and improve the blood circulation for better health.
When you kowtow, hold an image of Buddha in your mind and imagine yourself as Him, then the kowtow rites will be more meaningful.