The Basic Responsibility of a Buddhist



A cultivator should never lose his temper; he should be able to endure all things.

When people come together, it is because they have affinities with one another. We should never get mad at or scold others. That’s the worst kind of behavior. I hope everyone will behave like a refined person and will discipline him or herself.

Among the six perfections, patience is the most important. If we can perfect our patience, we will succeed in our cultivation. A cultivator should never lose his temper; he should be able to endure all things. Everyone, please remember the saying: “The fire of ignorance can burn down a forest of merit and virtue.”

One of my disciples asked to repent today. Since his mistake is not a grave one, I told him it would be enough for him to correct the error; there is no need to repent before the assembly. The ancients said,

Ordinary people aren’t sages;
How could they not make mistakes?
There is no greater goodness
Than to be able to correct one’s mistakes.

If you know you have done wrong, just make sure you don’t repeat the mistake in the future. It’s said, “If one can correct the mistake, it will vanish." Even great offenses can be eradicated with repentance. It is only to be feared that you will insist that you are right, even though you know you are wrong. That would be totally wrong.

I am speaking to the whole group, not to anyone in particular. If you are this kind of situation, you should correct it right away. If there is any way in which you don’t treat people well, then you should correct it immediately.

We have come here because of the wholesome affinities we have planted in the past. Without such affinities, we wouldn’t be able to get together. You should understand this. As Buddhists, we should pay close attention to affinities. It’s said, “Where there are affinities, people will come from a thousand miles away to meet one another. Where there are no affinities, people won’t get acquainted with each other even when meeting face to face.” These two sentences make a lot of sense.

We live in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas together, and we should respect and help each other. Don’t just be a bystander, who watches what is happening and drops sarcastic remarks, but doesn’t get involved. We should learn the Bodhisattva spirit. When living beings are in dire straits, it is as if we ourselves were in trouble. We should find a way to rescue living beings from the sea of suffering. This is the basic responsibility of a Buddhist. We shouldn’t gloat over other people’s misfortunes. This is what I expect from all of you. I hope you all have the hearts of Bodhisattvas and are willing to sacrifice yourselves for other people.

Our every thought should be directed towards helping Buddhism and propagating the Dharma. We should be true Buddhists and do everything we can for the sake of Buddhism, not fearing suffering or difficulty, and doing our best to protect the Way-place. One who establishes merit and teachings in Buddhism is a true disciple of the Buddha. We must be fearless and resourceful, and win every battle. Don’t be defeated as soon as you reach the battlefield, unable to meet challenges. If you can face tests, you’re not far from the Way.