One must know that, “The Buddha’s Way fills the vast emptiness; and the Truth is omnipresent within the Dharma realm.” Everything in this Dharma realm belongs to me, yet the phenomena of impermanence also tells me that nothing is mine. There is no need to become overly attached to worldly matters. A practitioner of Humanistic Buddhism must remain connected to the world, but like a scarecrow watching over flowers and birds, we must not be overly deliberate or discriminative.
All my life, I have aspired to propagate Humanistic Buddhism: anything that is taught by the Buddha himself, is needed by human beings, is pure, and is virtuous and beautiful. Any teaching that promotes the happiness of humanity is regarded as Humanistic Buddhism. In addition, we should regard suffering as the conditions which strengthen us. While impermanence means nothing is fixed, it can also change our futures to make our lives even better.
Emptiness does not mean “nothingness,” but is built upon the idea of existence. Only when there is emptiness can there be existence. In my life, I have owned nothing; is this not the idea of wondrous existence arising from true emptiness?
One of the predecessors from my hometown, Master Jianzhen of the Tang dynasty, had to go through many obstacles to reach Japan in order to propagate Chinese culture. At the old age of seventy-five, aware that there weren’t any prospects of returning to his village, he wrote the following verse, “Across the mountains, streams, and foreign lands; all places under the same sun, moon, and sky; hope lies in all Buddhist practitioners, to create the future altogether.” The current of life is like a river with no return, but there will still eventually be a day of coming back, as the end of one lifetime also marks the beginning of another. No man is an island; in order to live, we need the services provided by different people such as scholars, farmers, artisans, and merchants, as well as the assisting conditions of earth, water, fire, and wind. Everything in nature, such as the sun, moon, and stars, as well as the mountain, river, and earth, are all part of our lives. Therefore, we should cherish the Earth which we call home, and help all other beings on this planet in order to repay the kindness of the benefits and assistance that we previously received.
All my life, although I have encountered many ordeals of time, I still feel very fortunate. I have enjoyed hardship, poverty, struggle, and having nothing. I have understood that all Four Elements are existence; I have felt flowers blooming in all four seasons. The Buddha and devotees have given me too much. Although renounced and destined to sacrifice personal enjoyment, I have actually enjoyed the wondrous happiness that comes from sacrifice. I feel that the happiness from Chan and the joy from the Dharma found in the Buddha’s teachings are already too much to enjoy.