Happy Birthday

(Vesak, May, 1986)

To all you noble Buddhas currently living in prison, happy birthday.
To all you austere Buddhas selling your smiles in taverns, happy birthday.
To you countless Buddhas twinkling in the night sky, happy birthday.
And happy birthday to all of you brightly smiling, beautiful Buddhas in the gardens.

To all you Buddhas who have become endlessly changing clouds as you drift across the sky, to all you Buddhas who are quietly biding your time as boulders―a very happy birthday to you, too.
And happy birthday to all you cute little Buddhas swimming in the water. To all you lively Buddhas soaring about the sky. To all you reverential Buddhas singing hymns in churches, and to all you handsome Buddhas chanting in temples.

To all you Buddhas hoeing and plowing the fields and paddies, to all you Buddhas sweating in the humming factories, to all you Buddhas working in dust and dirt, and to all you Buddhas quietly studying in classrooms-let me wish you all a very happy birthday.

When I open my eyes, you are Buddha. When I close my eyes, you are Buddha. Every place in the universe is filled with Buddha!
The heavens and the earth are from the same source, and everything in the universe is One Buddha. Although we all have different guises and appearances, we’re all manifestations of this One Buddha. Everything is equal, and everything is magnificent! So let us transcend our torments in this world of Buddha, and enjoy happiness. How marvelous that every single place is a site for liberation from suffering and ignorance!

To all you Buddhas wearing the gentle smile of compassion and delivering the Dharma in a sound even greater than thunder, to all you Buddhas who fill every corner of the universe-every day is a wonderful day, and every day is our birthday. So let us all eternally respect and congratulate one another!

Noble Buddha

(Vesak, May, 1985)

Buddha is immense and immovable, and pervades the entire universe. In comparison, the vast sky is but a tiny grain floating in the middle of a boundless sea.

Buddha is eternal. Buddha existed before the universe and will exist long after the universe. And since Buddha is always everywhere, the past is the future, and the future is the present.
Buddha’s powers are immeasurably mysterious, and Buddha appears in unlimited forms according to requirements. Buddha never rests in the quest for the benefit of all.

Buddha’s light is brilliant beyond imagination. In comparison, the light of l00,000 days would amount to less than that of a single candle in broad daylight.
Buddha’s wisdom is the wisdom of nature. It perceives the universe, fills the streams and lotus ponds of life, and reveals itself as the truth of oneness and the way.

Buddha’s compassion is unlimited and unfettered. It serves tiny parasites in muddy waters as Buddhas, and it serves the greatest of enemies as parents. This compassion spares nothing in efforts for others: it even gives of its own life, and it is busily stretching its warm fingers to everything.
This is true not only of the historical Buddha Sakyamuni: all is equal, and both form and formlessness are perfect, although this may seem totally unimaginable to you.

So let’s all strive to open wisdom’s Eye, gaze upon this noble sight, and. praise it together.

Words of Blessings – Since there is this, there is that

(Vesak, May, 1984)

Since there is this, there is that,
and since this happens, that happens.
Since there is no this, there is no that,
and since this dies, that dies.

If two stalks support each other and one falls, the other falls as well.
The Buddha spoke the deep, noble truth that everything in the universe is interdependent, that everything is interrelated. The universal law of cause-and-effect applies to everything, because everything comes from the same source.

So if one thing is harmed, something else is harmed; if someone helps another, then both reap the benefits. If you harm someone else, then you are harmed; if you help someone else, this naturally affects you, too. How could you possibly harm another after realizing this universal law?

To those of you who know not this law, who go about stepping on others in your self-centered existence, please listen:
The only real way to live is by helping others. No matter how wretched your circumstances may be, rid yourself of harm and conflict, and help one another. Fire and water have opposing physical properties, yet they are most useful to us when we utilize them harmoniously.

You must come to the realization that we all share joy and suffering together, and live and die together. So let’s cast away all weapons of harm, combine our strengths, and join hands to help one another. Let’s all move forward together, and first of all help the ones who harm us the most. Then an awesome wave of eternal happiness will cover a magnificent paradise of peace and freedom.

On a sparkling spring day,
a golden Banyan deer
lies napping on the green grass.

The Middle Way is Buddha

(Vesak, May, 1983)

The Middle Way is neither a central position nor moderation. The Middle Way is Buddha, and by coming to know The Middle Way you come to know Buddha.
Generally, people think in terms of relative dualities. Consequently, they see reality as a world filled with struggles and conflicts. But this is illusion based on false discriminations. The Middle Way is ridding yourself of “right” and “wrong”, “evil” and “good” and all other relative dualities. It is an absolute state where all contradictions and conflicts have been syncretized.

There are no dualities in universal reality. Right and wrong are syncretized so that right is wrong and wrong is right. Evil and good are syncretized so that evil is good and good is evil. They are one and the same, and this is the eternal truth of The Middle Way.

When we know about nature and the universe, we see things as separate units. But when we know the universe, we know it as one. There is no end to the world of struggle and conflict if we stubbornly insist on such foolish discriminations as relative dualities.

If we come to see universal law, to see the reality of The Middle way’s perfect harmony, then contradictions and conflicts, dualities and struggles disappear. We see the great oneness of everything; and we can laugh wherever we go in this immense world of freedom, a world completely free from criticism and dissatisfaction.
In this world beyond dualities, every thing is The Middle Way and every place is a Buddhafield. The reality of The Middle Way is the world of Buddha, and it is the true reality of the universe.

We live in a world which is fundamentally a vast paradise filled with blooming flowers of freedom. So let’s all perceive this world of The Middle Way, and return to our fundamental nature which is an eternal home of absolute peace. Let’s hold hands and walk together in this magnificent world which sings praise of Buddha, a world where everything in the universe sings of The Middle Way.

Take a good look at yourself

(Vesak, May, 1982)

Take a good look at yourself.
You are already saved. You are originally Buddha.
You are overflowing with happiness and glory. To talk of paradise or heaven is to be talking in your sleep.

Take a good look at yourself.
Transcend time and space, and you’ll see that you are eternal, you are infinite. Should the universe collapse and disappear, you would still be immovable. You are all forms and all formlessness in the universe, the universe itself. You are the twinkling stars and the dancing butterflies-you are everything.

Take a good look at yourself.
All truths are within you. To look for truth outside yourself is to search for water outside of the ocean.

Take a good look at yourself.
There is no death in eternity, but those who don’t know themselves worry about death. They fret about it, and they dread it.

Take a good look at yourself.
You are originally pure gold. But because you are blinded by personal profit and greed, you mistake this gold for alloy. Forget your selfishness and use all your energies to help others. If you remove all traces of greed and desire, the Eye of the Heart will open up and you’ll see yourself as you really are, as pure gold.

Take a good look at yourself.
Poverty and starvation are superficial realities; the poor and the starving are fundamentally noble and sublime. To feel sorry for people based on superficialities is a grave insult to them. We must learn to respect and serve everyone.

Take a good look at yourself.
This age of rampant materialism is harming you. You are the ocean itself, yet you are paying attention only to the spray from the waves. Dwell on the ocean, not on the spray.

Take a good look at yourself.
The Buddha did not appear in this world to save us. He came to teach us that we are already saved, originally saved. What a tremendous joy it is for us to live with this Truth-so let’s all bless everything together!

The True Nature of Life

(Vesak, May, 1981)

Let us respect all forms of life as we respect the Buddha, for the true form of everything in the universe is brighter than sunlight, clearer than the sky, and perfectly spotless.

Such terms as “evil” or “lowly” are but superficial judgments. Everything is Buddha, everything is magnificent, everything is sublime. So we should respect not just all other people, but all forms of life-even seemingly lowly flies and ants, and ferocious wolves and tigers-in the same way that we respect the Buddha. When we respect even the most vicious criminal in this way, we come to see life as it really is and we come to live in true fundamentality.

Everything in the endless universe is Buddha, and every nation is a Buddhafield. If you look into the true nature of reality, you will not find a trace of misery. You will find only eternal happiness everywhere.

So let’s respect all forms of life in the same way that we respect the Buddha.

Greedless Harmony

(New Year’s Message, January 1, 1988)

The sons and daughters of Buddha are free on the eternal path of liberation, and the sons and daughters of Confucius sing of the Great Age of Sages. The sons and daughters of Jesus are replete in their infinite glory, and the sons and daughters of Mohammed have hearts bursting with joy and happiness.

The world is a single home, and all of mankind is one. So let’s forget such useless discrimination as “self” and “others”, and forget national, racial and other barriers. Let’s treat those of other religious as members of our own, and those of other nations as our compatriots.

To harm others is to harm yourself, and to help others is to help yourself. Treat the sick as if they were yourself. Treat the sick as if they were yourself, and serve the anguished in every way that you can.

It is awful to disguise personal profit and greed as patriotism and fraternity, so let’s rid ourselves of this completely. With a pure heart, let’s all help one another and let’s all trust one another. Let’s respect one another and love one another, and let’s all harmonize as one.

As I sit leisurely without thoughts of “self” and “others”, plum blossoms begin to cast their fragrance into falling snow.

Listen to the Eternal sound of the Bell

(New Year’s Message, January 1, 1987)

The magnificent sound of the temple bell shakes the dawn and awakens all living creatures from a dream world. As the brilliant morning sun reddens the eastern horizon, wake up and listen to this bell. It’s clarity sings of eternity and infinity, and it resounds endlessly throughout the universe.

The sound of the bell tells us that all forms of existence are absolute, that they were absolute before the universe came about and that they will be absolute after the universe disappears.

The sound of the bell tells us that even the most wicked forms of life are fundamentally Buddha. Ferocious tigers and gentle dogs dance together at the sound of this bell. Poisonous snakes and playful toads, cats and mice all jump merrily together at the sound of this bell.

People of all races the young and the old, children and adults, males and females, the rich and the poor all join together in praise at the sound of this bell. When this bell resounds, all oppositions, all hostilities, all conflicts disappear. We all find our pure, fundamental nature, and we all embrace one another as a family.

Listen to the sound of this bell. As sit reverberates, the wooden roadside totems sing and people who are as cold as stone come to life. Everything in the immense universe moves happily at the sound of this bell, so happily that “heaven” and “paradise” become embarrassing terms.
If you can’t hear this sacred sound, it’s because you are deaf with desire and greed. Rid yourself of these temporal cravings, and listen to this eternal sound.

How hilarious! The planet earth is but an invisible speck of dust to most of the boundless universe; yet famous saints and scholars, men of talent, and historical heroes boast of one anothers greatness. There are no better examples of nonsense, of tiny bubbles of foam than the First Emperor of Chin, Alexander the Great, Napoleon and other world subjugators.

To those of you obsessed by greed and desire, who run recklessly in your pursuits―rid yourselves of these futile dreams, and listen closely to the eternal sound of this bell.

We are blessed by the cries of pairs of wild geese flying through a clear, moonlit night, and the universe is overflowing with the echoes of peace and freedom!

The Red Sun Rises High

(New Year’s Message, January 1, 1986)

The red sun rises up out of the dark night to brighten the universe, and joyful cliffs dance merrily at the sight. Cool, clear waters flow out of a boiling furnace, filling the sky and earth and quenching thirsty trees which begin to burst with colorful blossoms.

Lao-tzu and Confucius are shaking hands, the Buddha and Jesus are walking together, and songs of peace flow from from all directions. The noble and the evil have disappeared, and there is no trace of heaven and hell. “Amen” is being chanted in magnificent temples, while “Ohm” flows from splendid churches. In such a world, arguments of “black” and “white” “right” and “wrong” are unimaginable.

The Great Wall of China is but a toy on foam, and the great unification of the world, as sought by historical conquerors, is but kids, stuff. To those of you so filled with self-importance, who recklessly run about searching for more and more, please listen: you are dancing on the blade of a knife.
Fundamental oneness includes and transcends being and non-being. Abso rbing mind and matter, it syncretizes the self and others. Should the world as we know it come to an end, fundamental reality would still remains unmoved, stable and free. How heartbreaking that endless personal greed blocks people’s sight from this brilliant scene; how tragic that people continue to writhe in a world filled with darkness.

Our fundamental nature is covered with greed like a jewel covered with dust; yet no matter how thick the dust, the jewel remains unchanged. If you brush away the dust, the jewel will light up the world with its brilliance.
Toss away your unrealistic, futile greed in this dream world so that you can see the fundamental nature of Eternal Truth. The blindingly brilliant Great Light and the endless sound of cheer are shaking the mountains and rivers.

Let’s make friends with the twinkling stars, drink nectar poured from a golden vase into white jade cups, and sing songs of praise.

A World Filled with Peace

(New Year’s Message, January 1, 1985)

Broader than space, and deeper and clearer than the ocean, the round sun in our hearts rises high to shed its light on the universe. The noble world spreads out before us: a castle of glittering gold appears, and the earth is covered with white jade. Mystically beautiful flowers bloom, and the precious birds and beasts dance in joy.

All worlds are adomed with peace and freedom. There is no suffering, and these worlds are filled with happiness. Paradise and heaven lose their sparkle, and the Buddha is left speechless by such a sight.

Both including and transcending time and space, everyone is eternal and everything is infinite and equal. Yet it is difficult to describe this mysterious world: steep cliffs flee as a red column of fire shoots up from blue waves, and the wooden roadside totems sing joyfully. What a marvelous sight! Such terms as “saints” and “devils” are insignificant in this world: Confucius and Tao-ch’il clasp hands as they bless the age of peace and prosperity.

These are not wild fantasies, but the true reality of the oneness of everything. To those of you who close your eyes only to bemoan the fact that it’s dark, please listen:
The door to the Great Light is always open. In this world overflowing with peace, there are no dualities, there are no conflicts. So let’s raise our eyes, look at this world, and praise it all together!