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TRUE FREEDOM
by Venerable Master Hsing Yun (1927 - , Fo Guang Shan)
English translation: John Balcom

Due to the ties of love, the wheel of samsara turns.

Because human beings have feelings, they are termed “sentient beings.” By learning to tone down our emotional attachments, we can live a life that is more at ease. Where is the freedom in living if people are bound together by selfish and ordinary love?

However, if love can be elevated to compassion, then “loving kindness will extinguish anger, and compassion will eliminate thoughts of harming others” (Sutra of Bodhisattva Stages [Bodhisattvabhumi Sutra]). The Gradual Discourses of the Buddha [Ekottarikagama Sutra] states, “All Buddhas manifest great compassion and, with the power of great sympathy, spread benefits to all sentient beings.”

Compassion is the untiring motivation used by the Buddhas and bodhisattvas to liberate sentient beings. If people could treat each other compassionately, then love would be like the sun in the winter, melting the snow and ice. It can inspire truth, goodness, and the beauty of human nature; love is a force that can encourage us to rise to greater heights.

Through purifying our bodies and minds, as well as opening our hearts to embrace everyone, we can live in peace and happiness.

── from Humanistic Buddhism: A Blueprint for Life


TO BE ONE’S OWN MASTER
by Venerable Master Hsing Yun (1927 - , Fo Guang Shan)
English translation: Zhi Yue and William Chong

In the seventeenth chapter of the Samyuktagama Sutra, there is a record of the Buddha asking his disciples what the difference is between ordinary beings and sages, as well as the differences between their sensations of suffering and happiness, The Buddha told them that the body of ordinary beings experience suffering and are trapped in worry and anger as a result, bring more pain to the mind.

The sages also have human bodies that experience suffering, but they are not worried or distressed, and thus the mind does not experience the sensations of the body. The difference between the two is that ordinary beings are affected by the Five Desires and give rise to the Three Poisons of greed, aversion, and ignorance, while the sage is not.

Consequently, we should rely, in our daily lives, on Right Mindfulness, Right Diligence, and the Right Path to conduct ourselves. We should, through applying the wisdom of self-reflexivity, develop our hearts of endurance, humility, sincerity, purity, serenity, compassion, forgiveness, equality, forbearance, repentance, gratitude…so that we do not give rise to various types of negative emotions. Only if we manage our emotions well, will we be able to recover the command of our hearts. Only then can we be masters of ourselves.

── from Renjian Fojiao Lunwen Ji (Collection of Essays on Humanistic Buddhism)