Cherishing this Beautiful World

Master Cheng Yen’s Teachings
Translated and Compiled by the Dharma as Water Team

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A society is made up of many individuals; thus it is not enough for just one person to do good. To have a harmonious family and society, every one of its members must do good deeds and practice gratitude.

The world will never be free of sickness, suffering, disability, and disease. However, with harmony and love in people’s hearts, we can have peace, be free from war, and care for all the poor, sick, and suffering.

I often think about my teacher. Sixty years ago, my teacher gave me six words: “for Buddha’s teachings, for sentient beings.” These words have guided me in the direction of my life and made me follow the right path and boundaries on my path as a monastic, not daring to deviate from the rules or take a wrong step.

The Buddha has also been my guiding teacher. A few hundred years after the Buddha entered Parinirvana, eminent monastics and sages compiled the Dharma in sections. All the sutras are invaluable, and every sentence teaches future generations how to break the habitual tendencies and desires of unenlightened beings. In my life, I have given commentary on several important sutras, including the Sutra of Forty-Two Chapters, the Sutra of the Buddha’s Bequeathed Teachings, the Sutra of the Eight Realizations of Great Beings, the Lotus Sutra, the Medicine Buddha Sutra, and, most importantly, the Sutra of Infinite Meanings, which I will forever uphold.

Before becoming a monastic, I was at Ci Yun Temple in Taichung, and I heard one of Dharma master Xiu Dao’s followers say that his neighbor had found a copy of the Lotus Sutra under the bed boards as he was renovating his house. The sutra had been there for an unknown number of generations, and the neighbor was going to take it to a recycler. Hearing the name of the Lotus Sutra filled my heart with Dharma joy, so I quickly bought it from the person’s neighbor.

I have been reading, transcribing, and teaching the Lotus Sutra, and I have never deviated from its path. The copy I got more than seventy years ago is falling apart, much like the handwritten copy of the Quran I had received from Mr. Faisal Hu of Türkiye in 2020. That copy of the Quran is 500 years old, and bugs have damaged the paper. As it is a very precious scripture, I wanted to preserve it, so we sent it to National Taiwan Library for restoration. In June of this year, the library returned to me the copy of the Quran that they had restored with great care. The delicate skill involved in the restoration work was breathtaking. I am very grateful for this affinity and that we can restore it with modern technology so that it can last for hundreds or thousands of years. It also gave me great confidence, so I entrusted this old copy of the Lotus Sutra to them so that they could also restore it and we could pass it down for generations on.

Being in this evil world of the Five Turbidities is like being in a dark tunnel, but the scriptures can help us to lead the way, and at the end of the tunnel, there is light. Although religions have different names, the principles behind them are the same — all scripture is beneficial to people. As long as a religion’s principles can be passed on, so that people with different capabilities can benefit from them, then this religion is worth promoting. Whether it is “great love,” “benevolent love,” or “love for humanity,” all are related. As long as something benefits the world, regardless of the religion it derives from, we must promote these good things, opening the path and paving the road. These are blessings for the world.

The world can provide everyone with their living necessities, and the harmony of the four elements can allow society to thrive. Everyone can be in harmony and help each other. When the weather, water, earth, and people are all in harmony, doesn’t that create a heaven on earth, heaven in the human world? There is no reason why we should destroy each other in such a wonderful world.

Good words, good actions, and good thoughts can benefit the world; on the other hand, speaking evil words and sowing discord among people disrupts society and causes strife among nations. If people’s hearts are not in unity, there will be no harmony.

With just a single thought of discord in the heart, people who shook hands and embraced one day could turn against each other the next. As a result, many people would be displaced by the scourge of war. The world will never be free from sickness and suffering, but it is possible to be safe, in peace, and free from war.

The intangible desires of the mind create karmic forces that we cannot stop, and these become the many worrisome things in the physical world. In particular, climate change leads to storms, floods, and even forest fires; very often, a tiny spark could start a raging, unstoppable fire that burns down vast forests. The world’s disasters are getting more powerful year by year, and countless people suffer from these disasters. Many people say that “humans can overcome the power of nature,” but is that really true? We must not be arrogant; we must be humble and reverent.

What is the best way to express reverence? It is not by praying once a day, but by being reverent in body, speech, and mind at all times. May we be free from greed, always speak good words, be kind to others, and praise one another. I love the land we live on and hope we will all love and cherish it. I hope that if one country is in trouble, other countries can provide assistance with love and care without problems; I also hope that people can come and go freely and be free from any disputes or conflicts. May all the impoverished, suffering, ill, and disabled people in the world find comfort, love, and care.

It is impossible to ask the eight billion people in the world to share the same mind. However, all Tzu Chi volunteers can ask themselves to inspire people who have affinities with them. We have to create the right causes and conditions and share about Tzu Chi with everyone, say good words, make great vows, and do good deeds to provide wide relief to suffering.

My greatest concern is seeing that people in the world need help, but we cannot reach them or help them. They may have survived a disaster, but can they live on? When we think of their suffering and how many people are suffering and starving while we are safe and comfortable, we must recognize and cherish our blessings. We also need to sincerely invite more Bodhisattvas to go among people to create more blessings. So, everyone, please always be mindful!

Compiled from Master Cheng Yen’s teachings from June 4 to 6, 2023

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