Let’s Unite in Support of Buddhism

Buddhism has just begun in the West, and we must all unite in support of Buddhism, and not divide ourselves into factions or cling to our prejudices.

I now realize that I made many mistake in the past. What kind of mistakes? Buddhism teaches selflessness, but I often harbored the thought of a self. Since I had the thought of a self, I didn’t think of others. Basically, we should forget notions of “self” and “others,” but I thought of myself without considering others. I forgot about others. I didn’t realize that other people had also done many good things in Buddhism. My views were mistaken, and I regret them deeply.

Buddhism has just begun in the West, and everyone must work hard together. Let’s unite in support of Buddhism, and work to spread Buddhism. Let us no longer act emotionally and no longer criticize each other, dividing ourselves into sects and factions and stubbornly clinging to our prejudices. Nor should we make discriminations of race or nationality. Whether we follow the Mahayana or the Theravada tradition, we should unite and practice the teachings, so that we can cause Buddhism to flourish. We must forget our “self” and see ourselves as identical to others. Then Buddhism will have a boundless future! We should personally apply the teachings and set a good example for other Buddhists. Little by little, we can influence others to change. We should never oppress or threaten others with force. Rather, we should win their respect through virtue. We should not become conceited, thinking that we are better than others. Such an attitude only proves that we have not let go of the view of self; we are still attached to and proud of ourselves. If we are like that, we only obstruct and weaken Buddhism; we become offenders within Buddhism.

Our responsibility is to revitalize Buddhism and cause it to flourish. We should bear the toil and complaints, work hard for Buddhism, and joyfully devote our lives to Buddhism, without hoping for a reward. If everyone has such an attitude, how can Buddhism not flourish?

We must hold to the principle that others’ mistakes are just our own. Thinking in this way, we won’t discriminate or be prejudiced against anyone. I often say:

Truly recognize your own faults;
Don’t discuss the faults of others.
Others’ faults are just my own;
Being one with others is called great compassion.

If everyone could follow this, we would certainly get along without fighting. As it’s said,

Everything is easy to deal with,
But a bad temper’s hard to change.
If you can truly not get angry,
You have a priceless jewel.
If you can further hold no grudges against others,
Everything will turn out well.
If afflictions never arise,
Where can offenses be found?
If you always look for others’ faults,
Your own suffering has not come to an end.

I used to always notice other people’s faults and it made me miserable. Now I make it a point to notice when people do things right, so I feel very happy. My motto is, “Everything is OK!” Then everything is auspicious and works out well!

A talk given on October 23, 1983