Next we will discuss the paramita of energy. Like sailing a boat against the current, one must have energy or exertion to forge ahead, or one will be driven back. To be energetic on the pathway is to be constantly mindful of the following question, `Is there anyone who can remain as zealous about attaining Buddhahood as when the first aspiration is sparked? Who is that person?` Then you have to think of yourself and be mindful of your own initial aspiration. When you are walking, you have to ask yourself, `Why am I walking on this path?` When you are residing in your house, you have to ask yourself, `Why am I now residing in this house? What is the purpose behind it?` When you are sitting down, you have to ask yourself, `Why am I sitting here?` When you are lying down, you have to think, `Why am I lying here?` The goal of asking such questions is to bring the focus of your energy back to cultivation in every task that you undertake. For example, tonight you tell yourself, `Well, I am going to relax today. Tomorrow is Saturday and the day after is Sunday. It is the weekend, so go outside, tour, barbecue and go anywhere you like. Go to a movie, a store, any place you choose.` [Grand Master spoke in English to audience applause.] However, when you walk into the movie theatre, you must think to yourself, `Why am I walking here?` When you are barbecuing, you have to think of this, `Why am I barbecuing?` When you are climbing a mountain and having a picnic, you must also ask yourself the same questions. This is `mindful walking.` Sometimes you will take a wrong path. `Wow, it is Friday night, now we can go see... go see what? Topless!` [Grand Master spoke in English to audience laughter.] Topless is strip-tease, and it is called `toppuresu` in Japanese. My mother is nodding. [laughter and audience laughter] I love to joke around. We have two tulkus living in the area whose names sound like `Topless` and `Chocolate.` I have been calling them Topless Rinpoche and Chocolate Rinpoche. [audience laughter] When you are relaxing, whatever you are doing, you have to ask yourself, `Why am I walking on this track? Why am I going to a strip-tease joint?` This is to remind you to put energy back into the path and be aware that whatever you are doing can distract you from the proper path. In general, as a means of relaxation, you can go and watch a movie; but watching a strip-tease is not advised, as it will fan your lust and detract you from the path. Asking yourself such questions keeps you energetically focused. When you are focused, it will help you realize when you are doing something that you should not be doing. In addition, chanting [the Buddha`s epithet or mantra] while you are walking is another way of keeping yourself energetically focused.

Whether walking, resting, sitting, or lying down, you have to be energetic. Even while lying down, you can continue to chant! Pray to your Personal Deity or guru to bless you with a good night`s sleep that is filled with luminosity and without any undesirable dreams. In every undertaking, you can pray to your guru and Personal Deity to bless you. This is one way of keeping up the energy of spiritual cultivation.

Energy or zeal can sometimes bring forth wonderful and perfect creations. Take the True Buddha Tantric Dharma as an example. It is a result of my energetic studying of the Tantric Dharma. [audience applause] When I read the sutras, I always have a pen in hand. If I come across a wonderful or subtle line, I immediately circle it and write a comment beside it. Then I will find the key point of the chapter and underscore it several times. This is how I read books written by the ancient sages and Bodhisattvas. While marking the books, this thought has occurred to me: If the author of this book knew that there would be, in the future, a Sheng-yen Lu who would study this book with such zealousness, he would emerge from this book and utter to me, `You are indeed my bosom friend.`` [audience applause]

This is how serious I am when I read the sutras. I study every single volume in the Buddhist Canon very carefully, underscoring passages and writing comments. I believe the writers, bookmakers, and people who have expounded on these sutras ?sages and Bodhisattvas ?would appear before me to tell me, `Finally there is someone who has studied my writings very carefully and commented upon them.` This is how energetic I am in my practice. Many people on the outside are not aware of it.

The energy I put into my writing is just as great. I have completed my 105th book and am writing now the 106th. [audience applause] Many people criticize me, not knowing that I am actually very energetic about my practice. I write daily without a day`s break. Even during this period, while this discourse is being given, I still spend each morning writing. If a person wants to succeed in whatever he is doing, he must be energetic and totally abandon himself to the task. You might say, `Rumor has it that Sheng-yen Lu is a swindler.` A swindler would cheat you today and vanish tomorrow, but I have been grinding slowly on my writing pad every single morning, and have written 106 books! Is this the action of a swindler? I have dedicated all my energy from this life into the studying of the Buddhadharma. My heart and soul are totally devoted to the Buddhadharma. This is the paramita of energy. [audience applause]

Many students are also very vigorous and energetic in their cultivation, and devote themselves to chanting every day. Master Lian-ching, Go On-men, gives students lists of homework specifying the number of mantra chantings and prostrations. Also, Master Samantha of the Purple Lotus Society often gives homework to the students, specifying the number of good deeds one has to perform, the number of mantras one has to chant, and the number of copies of sutras one has to print for distribution.

I know many students are very energetic in their cultivation. However, many others are too relaxed. After taking refuge, they only go occasionally to group meditation and do not do any meditation at home. They find the daily practice to be a chore and drudgery, and cannot derive any pleasure from it. They even regret having taken refuge and having made the commitment to do a daily practice in their personal shrine. They would rather go and have a drink. When one harbors this kind of feeling, one will never be able to reach any fruition in one`s cultivation. To be energetic in one`s practice is to totally abandon oneself to the practice.

Many people are very serious and energetic when they first make the resolution to do spiritual cultivation. The Avatamsaka Sutra says that, if one can uphold this initial zeal, one will attain Buddhahood. [audience applause] When they first become Buddhists, many students make the following vows in front of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, `I will support the True Buddha School and the Grand Master until the end of my life.` `I will try my best to learn the Buddhadharma until the end of this life.` `I vow to follow the Grand Master in this life as well as in all of my future lives.` Well, in a few short years, their initial zeal is spent, and they are gone. [laughter] Therefore, it is paramount to remain energetic and uphold the initial zeal. When one does that, one definitely will attain Buddhahood. [audience applause]

By coupling initial zeal with perseverance, one will arrive at spiritual fruition. Otherwise, one is just a creature with a tiger`s head and a mouse`s tail, as the Taiwanese saying goes. This kind of fizzling out after a strong start is not unique just to our students; many masters also exhibit this kind of behavior. In the beginning, these masters came to me and spoke passionately, `Grand Master, I want to support you in this life and follow you forever. I want to pay homage to you and support the True Buddha Tantric Dharma...` I told them, `Don`t rush it, let me take some time to observe you first.` While I was still observing, the hot air was already leaving the balloon. Their initial zeal was excellent, but they have no perseverance. This is a flaw of human beings. I asked one of the masters, `Why are you like this now?` He replied, `I have become sick.` `What kind of illness?` I asked. `Terminal illness,` he said. After being diagnosed with a terminal illness, he completely lost his initial enthusiasm. The Avatamsaka Sutra states very clearly that the coupling of initial zeal with perseverance definitely will enable one to attain Buddhahood. [audience applause] To have zeal with perseverance is to be energetic. This energy is extremely important because there will be no spiritual accomplishment without it.

Meditation and Prajna (Wisdom)

The fifth and sixth paramitas are respectively `meditation` and `wisdom,` and these I discussed yesterday. Together with generosity, precepts, endurance, and energy, they form the Six Paramitas. When these six virtues are given a full play and applied in all activities, they will enable one to reach the other shore.
After a Buddhist learns the Four Noble Truths and attains arhatship, he or she needs to practice the Six Paramitas to transform into a Bodhisattva. The Six Paramitas are practiced by Bodhisattvas on the Mahayana Path. At the beginning and end of his teaching mission, Buddha Shakyamuni taught the Four Noble Truths. The ideas pertaining to the Mahayana Bodhisattva Way were taught by the Buddha during the middle of his teaching career.

As Buddhists, you have to abide by the precepts of the Buddha, practice the Six Paramitas, understand the doctrine of impermanence, and know how to practice renunciation. Or, you may practice as a lay Buddhist. Whether one is a monk or a householder, there are skillful means which one may employ to attain similar spiritual accomplishment. When one practices the Six Paramitas, one is a Bodhisattva. A key point in the practice of the Buddhadharma is to transform oneself from an arhat to a Bodhisattva, then to achieve self-awakening and help others to achieve awakening. When one achieves perfection in awareness and activities, one arrives at the fruition of Buddhahood.

This ends my discussion on the Three Non-outflow Studies and the Six Paramitas. We will stop here today.

Om Mani Padme Hum.

慶賀真佛宗根本傳承上師八十聖壽 「一生一咒」800萬遍上師心咒活動,從今年師尊的佛誕日正式啟動,請參加者到TBSN官網以下鏈接登記資料: 每持滿十萬遍上師心咒者,宗委會將把名單呈給師尊加持。每持滿一百萬遍者,將列名護摩法會功德主,資料請師尊主壇護摩法會時下護摩爐。