If you understand, you can put it down. If you don’t understand, you will be attached.
You all have heard that in the Avatamsaka Sutra it says, "The Buddhas manifest hundreds of thousands of millions of sounds to proclaim the wonderful Dharma for living beings." We should awaken to the fact that all the sounds in the world are speaking the Dharma. It is said,
The sounds of the brooks are all simply the vast, long tongue.
The hues of the mountains are none other than the pure body.
The sounds of the streams and creeks are just like the vast, long tongue of the Buddha, proclaiming the wonderful Dharma. The hues of the green mountains are all the pure Dharma-body, delighting those who see them. If you understand this principle, then absolutely everything in the world is speaking the Dharma.
Good people speak good Dharma for you, and bad people speak bad Dharma for you. Horses speak the Dharma of being a horse, and cows speak the Dharma of being a cow, enabling you to understand how they got to be horses and cows. As a matter of fact, in their previous lives, horses and cows were probably people who were unfilial to their parents and disrespectful to their teachers. Perhaps they refused to listen to the admonishments of their parents and teachers, so they turned their backs to them. Now that they have become animals in this life, they are pretty much the same.
In general, if you observe the five precepts and practice the ten good deeds, you can be born in the human realm or the heavens. If you have greed, anger and stupidity in your mind, you will fall into the three evil paths.
Cats catch mice, tigers prey on rabbits, and the weak are eaten by the strong – these are all speaking the Dharma. Each has its own cause and effect, its own standing, and its own wonderful Dharma. Professors speak the Dharma of professors, and students speak the Dharma of students. Bhikshus speak the Dharma of Bhikshus, and Bhikshunis speak the Dharma of Bhikshunis. Sentient beings are speaking the Dharma, and insentient things are also speaking the Dharma. If you can recognize this, then the green mountains, the white clouds, the yellow flowers, and the green bamboo are all speaking the Dharma. All the myriad things and creatures are speaking the Dharma.
Robbers loot the wealth and property of other people because those people robbed them in previous lives, and they are now collecting the debt. If they weren’t robbed in the past, and they rob the wealth and property of others now, they will be robbed in the future in order to pay their debt. That’s the principle of retribution in the cycle of cause and effect.
Therefore, people should act in an upright way, be altruistic and unselfish. Don’t try to take advantages. If you gain advantages by forcing it, you are actually taking a loss. It is said, "To take a loss is to gain an advantage." Keep that in mind, and don’t forget it! If you’re not supposed to gain an advantage, but you insist on getting it, you will just lose capital. If you’re supposed to gain an advantage, and you don’t try to get it, then you are putting a deposit in the bank.
Thus, each person should stand in his proper place and do his best to fulfill his obligations. You should not be greedy for unexpected wealth, nor should you drink too much alcohol. This is also speaking the Dharma.
The emerald-green bamboo is just the Dharma-body.
The thriving yellow flowers are nothing but Prajna.
That’s how we should contemplate them. If you understand, you can put it down. If you don’t understand, you will be attached.