Message from Hsing Yun
People live through hope! If material life ever became so satisfying that one no
longer had reason to hope, one soon would find existence joyless. A cloud of
boredom would cover the world, and life itself would seem meaningless.
Hope is a higher faculty, and without it human beings deny the very possibility
of a higher life.
Hope supports our faith
People sometimes say that human beings are "creatures of faith."
All religions and philosophies are founded on faith or belief. When faith is
strong, powerful energies are released. With the energies of faith, amazing
things can be accomplished.
Buddhism, of course, is based on truth, wisdom and the first-hand experiences of
In the sutras, Buddha explains many times that all sentient beings possess a
Buddha nature, and that if we follow his teachings, we will perfect ourselves in
our Buddha nature.
We must contribute to the well-being of our families
Most of us spend most of our lives within the circle of some family.
We spend our early years in our parents' home, and when we grow up, we
establish our own families. Families do not only produce and raise new lives,
they also are fundamental to the growth of the individual and the stability of
the nation. For this reason, Buddhism places special emphasis on the family.
Many Buddhist sutras are concerned principally with the family. The Singalaka
Sutra, the Maha-ratnakuta Sutra and the Maha-parinirvana Sutra not only teach us
how to live in a family, they also specifically teach us how to manage the
finances of a family so they will be in accordance with the Dharma.
We must contribute to the well-being of society
We owe nearly everything we have to society.
Society provides us with material goods, an education, our friends and
professional opportunities. Society gives us our language and it teaches us our
values. We should be deeply grateful for what has been given to us, and we
should work willingly to give something back. We should feel compassion towards the societies which have reared us, and we should do our best to repay them. When we feel compassion toward the society in which we live, we can be sure that we are beginning to really grow in wisdom.
We must contribute to history
An important part of human life lies in continuing and enhancing traditions
inherited from the past. Each generation stands on the shoulders of the one
before it. If we recognize our debt to the past, we must surely be able to
recognize our responsibility to the future. It is our duty to maintain the
traditions which have been passed down to us. Naturally, we must always be
willing to adapt them to changing circumstances, but in the end, we should pass
them on in good condition to the generations which follow. Our contribution to
society will have little or no importance if it has no beneficial effect that
lasts over time.
Clearly, what we do in this world can transcend the life of the body by many
years, just as the importance of what we do in our lives may not be fully
appreciated at the time we do it. The important thing is to try daily to
contribute in a positive fashion to whatever lies around us. If BLIA members all devote themselves whole-heartedly to the kindness and compassion which is
the basis of our organization, then we will be sure to build a living tradition
which will be gratefully received by the generations which follow us.
We must contribute to our temples
Historically, Buddhist temples have always done far more than just preach the
Dharma. They have also been used as schools, hospitals, refugee camps, military
camps, links in transportation lines, storage houses and focal points for
organized social work. Historically, Buddhist temples have been the centers of
so many different kinds of activities, they have functioned almost like second
homes for millions of people. It is important that BLIA members recognize the
very important roles their temples can, and should, play within the societies in
which they reside. People look to an organization for leadership and guidance,
but they look to its temples for community and friendship.
We create positive conditions for all beings
Conditions are the most wonderful and powerful aspects of the whole world!
When we learn to work positively with whatever conditions we find ourselves in,
amazing and beautiful things can come into being. When we are positive, even
negative causes can produce good results.
Everything in the universe is produced by causes and conditions. All sentient
beings are born and live within a matrix of common conditions and interrelated
causes. It is imperative that human beings abandon the false notions of
"survival of the fittest" and "might makes right." These notions not only are
not true, they also produce very harmful effects on human consciousness.
Each one of us must contribute to the well-being of the whole world and not
simply try to seize as many resources as we can for ourselves.
We vow to contribute to the future
The things of this world are transient. None of us can know what tomorrow will
bring. However, if we truly vow to make positive contributions to life, our
efforts will transcend the limitations of time.Amitabha Buddha made forty-eight
vows for the good of all sentient beings, and upon those vows, his Western Pure
Land was created. The Eastern Pure Land of the Medicine Buddha, similarly, was
founded on his twelve vows. Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva has vowed to remain in hell
until all sentient beings have been released from it. That vow gives hope to all
who hear of it.
We must contribute light to the world
The highest thing in the world is light. The sun rises at dawn, and as it
proceeds on its course, it shines light around the world. All living things are
sustained and warmed by the light of the sun.
A lighthouse on land gives direction to ships at sea. It prevents them from
floundering and it saves the sailors on board much fear.
I hope all members of the BLIA will adopt selfless attitudes toward themselves,
their work and their contributions to Buddhism. When we work selflessly to
achieve a compassionate goal, we are assured of helping both ourselves and
others at the same time, and we are assured of engaging ourselves in work that
is of the highest order. When we are selfless and compassionate at the same
time, we will benefit our families, we will be positive elements in our
societies, we will create energies and traditions that will influence future
generations, and we will improve the very conditions in this world in which our
fellow human beings must live. The vows we take today, one day will light the