Among men, there are the ignorant and wise. The ignorant are considered small. The wise are considered great. The wise teach dharma to the ignorant. The ignorant suddenly awaken to enlightenment, then they are no different from the wise.
The wise refer to people with great wisdom. The ignorant refer to people with limited faculties. When we say small people, we don㦙 mean sneaky people as we say in Chinese.
On the topic of life and death, practicing Buddhism is to set yourself free from the reincarnation, to eradicate the cycle of rebirth. Set yourself free because you don㦙 like to be reborn in the six realms over and over. At least you don㦙 like the sufferings in the human realm and desire to reach a higher realm. The smarter ones want to stop the rebirth. The even smarter ones know what life and death are truly about. And those with great wisdom realize there is neither life nor death.
There are a few grades in the wisdom of life and death. Some people like birth but detest death. According to Buddha, death always accompanies birth. The notion of liking birth but not death doesn`t make sense. Most Christians, Catholics and Islamists want to go to heaven. Of course we all want to go to heaven; that𠏋 why we have religious beliefs. So the first level has those who desire to live a long life and go to heaven after death.
Those who are wiser want to go beyond heaven. In Buddhism, there are twenty eight heavens. Beyond these heavens, there are Pure Lands. Pure Lands are higher than heavens. It is an irreversible state. When you get to a Pure Land, you will not return to reincarnation. I remember I read it in the Bible that people go to heaven when they die; and they would be in heaven with Jesus for a thousand years. There is still the notion of time. The Bible doesn㦙 say what happens after a thousand years. Buddhists know that once you reach Pure Land, you are free from birth into reincarnation. So Pure Lands are the places for people who are wiser. Beyond that? Entering Nirvana also ends rebirth. Same with attaining Arhatship, there is no rebirth in that state.
The next level is to be a Bodhisattva, a Buddha - achieving the Unsurpassed Most Perfect and Complete Enlightenment. Finally, you attain Buddhahood. You would truly understand life and death. Our form as a human being represents only a trip to the samsara. Our trip on earth is just a simple passing. You wouldn`t take life`s events to heart. We have in ourselves the vajra heart. Bodhisattvas and Buddhas have vajra hearts too. You don`t discern life and death. There`s no life. There`s no death. Life and death are no different. What I have in me is the vajra heart. The Unsurpassed Most Perfect and Complete Enlightenment is known also as the vajra heart. It is the most supreme.
Acharya Lain He mentioned perseverance. Practicing Buddhism takes perseverance. Successful people have great perseverance - commitment and endurance. Really, successful people would go through ten thousand hours of test of will and training. For me, not a day goes by without practicing the sadhana. Regardless of the events, I make necessary adjustments in my schedule to ensure that I practice every single day. If I have to travel, I will practice in a car, on a plane or ship. I have a singular commitment for two things only, cultivation and writing. Take cultivation and writing out of my life, I have nothing. I don`t use tiredness as an excuse and say I would make up today`s practice tomorrow. No! Finish today`s work today! That𠏋 why I say, 𨯗 day without cultivation, a day you stay a ghost.\`
I like what Acharya Lian He said - 90% of our thoughts are useless. In our daily lives we need to focus our mind to attain the unsurpassed wisdom. Eliminate those greedy, hateful, delusional, doubtful, and arrogant thoughts. Train and exercise your mind. Rid those 90% of thoughts that are corrupt. That𠏋 why Buddha says, \`Direct mind to one place, nothing is unsuccessful.\` Buddha`s parting words to the sangha before entering Nirvana were: Be rigorous! No slacking. Cultivate with dedication. Concentrate and you shall succeed.
Our senior Acharyas have attained high merit and accomplishments. But they are very modest. Some never bothered with seeking validation of their attainment. As a matter of fact, their states are inconceivable. They have high wisdom but just don`t show it. We can`t say that because the newly appointed Acharyas bring a new atmosphere, the old Acharyas are a thing of the past. That is not right. We treat everyone equally. It`s only that the new Acharyas` youth, vitality, and tenacity will in the future bring True Buddha School new life, new energy, and new accomplishments.
Translated by: TBTT
Summarized by Ameli Chiang, Proofread by Angela Yeh, Edited by Morgan Chiu