Diligently Clean the Mirror of the Heart and Transmit the Dharma According to Capabilities

National Headquarters  |  July 30, 2023

Teachings by Dharma Master Cheng Yen
Translated by Dharma as Water Dev. Dept, Tzu Chi USA

The Jing Si Dharma Lineage originates from the spirit of the Buddha  Dharma and is inseparable from the Tzu Chi School of Buddhism. Many  say, “The Jing Si Dharma Lineage is the Dharma essence of Tzu Chi;  it conveys the spiritual ideals behind Tzu Chi.” Therefore, I hope that  whenever you think of the Jing Si Dharma Lineage, you will not forget  about Tzu Chi. When you go among people, you should talk about  Jing Si Dharma Lineage and convey my spiritual ideals. Everything I  do and say is inseparable from Tzu Chi and from relieving suffering in  the world. 

To retrace the footsteps of the Buddha, we must go back to over two  thousand years ago. The Buddha expounded the Dharma at Vulture  Peak. Vulture Peak was also the place where the Buddha expounded  the Lotus Sutra, and perhaps we were all present there, listening to  the Dharma at the Lotus Dharma Assembly. Now, you and I are living  in this same era, but perhaps I was more blessed, and I was able to  follow the Buddha more closely. Perhaps I was one of the disciples  following the teacher. Therefore, I now feel a strong sense of warmth  and closeness regarding Vulture Peak. 

When it comes to the heart and our state of mind, so long as our  hearts are dedicated, we can return to the spiritual state of Vulture  Peak over two thousand years ago. Dear Bodhisattvas, we are called  “ordinary beings.” The initial aspiration of an ordinary being is  originally pure and undefiled. However, we become lost over many  lifetimes of transmigration through the Six Realms. Yet, over such  a long time, it is possible that I have sown seeds of goodness and  formed karmic connections with all of you. So, though we may be at  different points in time, we are all returning to the Buddha’s inner  spiritual training ground. 

For over fifty years, I have been guiding you and everyone in this world.  Tzu Chi is based in Taiwan, which is a small island. Yet, in this small  place, Bodhisattvas from different countries and different corners of  the world are gathering here one after another; they were present  at the Vulture Peak Assembly and have formed karmic affinities with  Tzu Chi. 

Recently, I have been saying that we should “take inventory of our  lives” and reflect on how much we have contributed to the world in this  lifetime. The love for our family comes from the karmic connections we  formed in previous lifetimes. In our current lifetime, we should form  positive karmic connections with even more people. Bodhisattvas not  only love their own families; when the right causes and conditions are  present, they must also seize the time in life and expand their Great  Love. For instance, there are many people in Tzu Chi who are still  working professionals. However, they seize the causes and conditions  and take time off to engage in Tzu Chi activities. They do not take time  off from Tzu Chi. They go to work as part of their profession, but they  also carry out Tzu Chi’s work as part of their mission in life, and they  give without asking for anything in return.  

I always say to everyone, “I am grateful!” I have gratitude at all times,  in all places, and toward everyone. “I am grateful,” and “I give you my  blessings” are the most wonderful words. These are the essence of  the Dharma. The teachings that I give are not cold, hard facts. Rather, I  always explain the principles and pave a way; I teach to pave a way for  people to walk on. 

You have all contributed a lot, yet I have not been able to do much for  you. What I offer to everyone is intangible yet enduring; there is no  physical weight to it, yet you take it wherever you go. You should bring  my mindset and views with you, and learn etiquette from me. In this  way, wherever you go, you will be loved and respected. 

When I reflect on my life, I have no regrets. I can confidently tell  you that what I have said is true and not false. In addition, my heart  encompasses the universe. I treat people with sincerity; my actions are  genuine and real, and my heart is always open and accommodating.  

Without an accommodating heart, Tzu Chi would not have made it this  far. There are times when the conditions we are in are pleasant and  feel like a gentle breeze. However, there are also times when it feels  scorching hot and suffocating. In such situations, we must endure.  Even though our heart will ache in those moments, we still feel happy  after everything passes. Sometimes, when the “wind of ignorance”  blows, we feel so much pain, it is as if it is cutting through our flesh.  However, after the pain, there is happiness, because little by little, we  can resolve the unpleasant karmic forces and adversities created in  the past.  

When it comes to the things that I do, when others do not agree  with me or understand me, they will come and challenge me. These  challenges are like polishing material; the more challenges I face, the  more polished the mirror of my heart becomes. Therefore, I am very  grateful. Without such challenges and without polishing the mirror of  the heart, it will become covered by dust. In this world, not everything  will go our way. If we do not diligently wipe away the dust on that  mirror in our hearts and polish it, who will do it for us? 

In the Jing Si Bookstores, when we choose books for customers, it  depends on people’s capacities and dispositions to decide which book  or passage to share with those we are unfamiliar with, so we must work  hard. When people come and challenge us with difficult questions or  situations, we can put smiles on our faces; when the mirrors of our  hearts are clear, we will be able to quickly call to mind a suitable Jing Si  Aphorism and share it with those people 

In the era of Dharma degeneration, there needs to be people to spread  the right Dharma. Nowadays, we cannot promote the right Dharma  in a way that feels too religious; instead, we need to skillfully adapt  to various religions and beliefs and convey it in a way that would be  suitable. No matter what we say, we should not cause afflictions in  others. This is the true spirit behind the Jing Si Dharma Lineage and the  Tzu Chi School of Buddhism.  

I am grateful for all of you who have been safeguarding the Jing Si  Dharma Essence at the Jing Si Bookstore. Please do not forget to  put the teachings into action and walk on the Bodhisattva Path. Only  when we embody the spirit of Jing Si can we truly be called Tzu Chi  volunteers. I believe all of you can understand this. Nowadays, when I  speak, it takes a lot of effort, so please listen attentively. In the past, I  spoke softly and all of you listened attentively. Now, you must cherish  our affinity even more and truly listen attentively. 

You are safeguarding Tzu Chi, safeguarding me as your teacher, and  safeguarding the love of Jing Si. Please pool your strength together,  and let there be no distance between all of you. You should maintain  harmony, be loving and supportive to eac

Compiled from Master Cheng Yen’s teachings from the closing ceremony of the Jing Si
Humanistic Culture Retreat for Singapore and Malaysia volunteers on May 21, 2023

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