The Unity of View, Practice and Daily Life  

A talk given by Guru Yutang Lin
Interpreted in Polish by Disciple Wisdom Lotus
Karma Dechen Choeling, Warsaw, Poland
May 26, 2018

Reviewed and Revised by Guru Lin
Transcribed by Disciple Ji Hu

MP3

Good evening! The sponsor of KDC, Tomasz kindly invited me to come to the center to conduct some Dharma activities, and he also asked me to talk on tonight' s topic. And, I don't remember exactly what his question was, but I understand what he wanted, so I formulated the topic as Unity of View, Practice and Daily Life″. As far as view, practice and daily life is concerned, we know from our own experiences in life that, even though we may have some views, may have some principles, but, when it comes to practices, actually applying the principles of our believes, it's inevitable that we make exceptions. And then in daily life, because not everyone thinks the same, so, eventually we have to make compromises. So, in worldly life this problem, this unity is already so difficult. Now when we come to Dharma, the difficulty is even more, even much more. Why? Because, for example, Dharma, the basic teaching says No Self″; and in our practices, how many of us can forget our ″Selves″? We would like to say, oh, I have been doing this for so many years, I have accumulated so many practices; that's ″Self″. And then in daily life, the society is based upon the concept of each one individual, and your responsibility, your obligations, whose profit it will become. So, it's completely contrary to what Dharma says ″No Self″. So, how can we follow the Dharma teachings in daily life? The whole society doesn’t accept that. And, even if we say, oh, then I avoid the worldly activities, I just stay within Dharma—within Dharma there are still problems.

First of all, what kind of view shall we follow? Because some say, oh, only the original teachings of Sakyamuni is the Dharma, the rest, other things mixed in it, that’s not Dharma. And then, there are like, ah, in English it's called ″Zen″, in Chinese it' s called ″Chan″, Zen Buddhism, the basic attitude is that, oh, we should do without any words, any Sutras. So, you want to talk about view; they say, give up all views! And then, between view and practice, for example, there were Lamas who say, ah, impermanence, so, and he gave the teaching on Impermanence. And then, the disciple asked, what comes up after impermanence? (Wisdom Lotus: what do you mean what comes up after …) oh, what shall we do after impermanence? But he said, oh, if it is impermanent, then, what do you expect? There is nothing after impermanence; it's just everything impermanent—you don't have to hold on to anything. But, this kind of view how can we practice? It doesn't mean that the view is wrong, but, for most of us, we don't know how to practice.

So, first, I bring out all these difficulties, so we know that why people asked me to talk about this. Because, yah, when they try to be, you know, consistent in view, practice and daily life, it's actually very difficult. So, I will offer my view based on my experiences on this topic, with the hope that maybe it can help you to find consistency in view, practice and daily life. And I think the way to approach this is, instead of, you know, trying to say, oh, which’s school is correct, which’s view is better, I don't go like this, because there is no end to that. We have tripitaka; who can really understand, and then go through all of them? My approach is, say, let’s look at Sakyamuni because He is the one everyone has to agree that He got Full Enlightenment, right? Every Buddhist. So, let's see, what does it mean that He got Full Enlightenment? And also, all the teachings come after Full Enlightenment, so, in that sense, no views before the Full Enlightenment. And also, right after Enlightenment, He remained in silence for one whole week; why? He knows that it's inexpressible to ordinary people. And then, when He tried to help others by giving some teaching, He also had to consider who could possibly comprehend what I am trying to present to them.

Why is Full Enlightenment so difficult? Doesn’t the Sutras teach us, oh, it's originally ours—we are not going to gain anything new. It's already here, but how come we cannot comprehend it? If it is already yours, isn't it should be very convenient? Your money you just take out from your pocket, why it's so difficult? So, let’s again look at how Sakyamuni attained Full Enlightenment. First of all, He was a prince; He has all the good things in life. He was in his prime time—He is not weak, not sick, He’s still far away from, you know, sickness, old age, death. But, He gave up everything, and go into the forest. So, first of all, let's ask us, how many of us can take Enlightenment so seriously—you give up everything just for this, even though you are in comfortable situation; you have nothing to worry about, but you give them all up? So, first of all, He took the problem so seriously. He thinks this is the most important thing in life, first of all. And, secondly, He attained Full Enlightenment after He renounced everything, and He worked very hard on this, tried many things for six years. And then finally the Sutra said, oh, after He sat there, under the bodhi tree, and at some time in the night, He saw the star, and at that instant, He became Enlightened. But, He saw the star every night, why not before that? Why He has to be at that moment? What makes the difference? Why—looking at the star, before was not Enlightenment, but at this instant it’s Full Enlightenment?

I am not Sakyamuni; I have not attained Full Enlightenment. So, what I am going to say is based on what I experienced through comprehending the teachings, and put them into practice, and then gradually realized that, oh, what is the case. The difference between that instant He looked at the star and said Full Enlightenment and before He looked at the star is because, before when He looked at the star is ″ I looked at the star ″, but, at that instant, no ″I″, just—it' s all one. Everything—you know, the most subtle distinction of me and something else evaporated. At that time everything is oneness. But this is not mysterious, because why? Even this moment all the things that you experience, even though is limited, and is confined by our sense organs, but the whole thing is, comes without any effort, it's—there is no distinction. All the distinctions—he said, oh, this is sound, this is what I see, that's after you begin to think. Before you think, you don't have to think, they just all come at once together, it's oneness.

And, the reason that it took Him so much effort after so much time to reach that stage is because, we all know that, especially nowadays we can easily see different culture, different people, you know, because of the ease of communication, and we see that people are different. But, basically all the same, and what make us different? Because we born in different parts of the world, different cultures, different views, you gradually, you know, you have a mental ″Self″ created by your grasping to certain views—you think it is correct this way, that is no good; I like this, I don't like that, and you are conditioned by all these. For example, right now we are talking, but there are sound outside, and, before I mentioned, you probably don't listen the sound outside, you cannot hear it, because you want to listen to what I am saying. You are already, you know, making choices as to what you are getting. And, how can you free yourself from all these, your own conditioning that's inherent in you already? And, in the society you have your position, your relationship with others, you know, so, you always interact based on those assumptions, and people, of course, trying to do things not offending others, better for ourselves or for all. So, always you are acting, you know, through your views, and that decides who you are at this moment, how you will react at this moment. So, you are far away from the reality that you are in, the real experiences that you are in. You are confined by your views, and your views also conditioned your body, but you don't aware of that. But, through years of practice, following the Buddhist teachings of, say, oh, originally no ″Self″, so, we learned to open up, to give up attachment, and all the Dharma practices what they're trying to do is let you do some repetitions, and through that gradually, you don't have time to think of your old habits, your old views, your grasping to them becomes loosen. And, when your mind loosens, also you feel relaxation in your body. And through long years of practices, then gradually it's possible to finally come to the point that you cannot even do any grasping.

For example, right now whenever I give talk, I don't have speeches written, and even if I think about this topic several times before I give the actual talk, I cannot remember. It's not here (Guru pointed at his head), and what you hear is just what I have in mind at this second, I don't have other thoughts, other than what I am telling you. That's the result of years, decades of practice, and Dharma services, because Dharma services when presented purely, freely to all, then, you know, you just become like this. So, it's possible. But, why it was so difficult for Buddha to try to communicate to others? Because in that state, you know, no difference; but, whatever I try to tell you, what you can comprehend is still ″you″ and ″me″, you know. You are saying this to me, maybe you want some advantages from me, you know; there are other things involved, you cannot really comprehend what I try to tell you. So, He had, you know, to design some teachings, you know. And, if you understand this, then, in some sense, it’s easy; why? You just need to know that the view is that, ultimately, originally, we are free from any mental restrictions; basically, it’s like this—all are actually in oneness. And this sounds very strange, how can all be in oneness? But, after we practice for so many years, we pray for people we completely don't know, over the ocean, anywhere, and they sensed something, they even sensed the power of blessing coming to them; what' s going on? Not because there is an ″I″ here, who is so powerful, who is so…; no, no, I don't know what's going on. But, because of originally in oneness, in my mind all the distance of ocean, continents gone, then, when you pray, they sense it.

Now I try to help you understand the basic view saying ″No Self″ and ″originally without limitations″ by an example. For example, we all know the concept of, like, ″a drop of river water″ or ″a drop of ocean water″. And, of course, we can get you with, go to the river bank, or the shore, sea shore, and then take water and see one drop. But, if it, inside the river, inside the ocean, where is that one drop of water? Because, for example, if you're in the middle of ocean, nothing you can do, everywhere is just water, you don't even know any direction. ″A drop of ocean water″ is just an imaginary concept—in the ocean where can you find it? Similarly, now we say, oh, I have a ″Self″, my ″Self″ is this, my ″Self″ is that. But, in the totality of your whole experiences, where is the ″Self″ actually? It's just an imaginary concept, it's always only the whole experience that's the ocean, and this ocean actually has no limitations. We are accustomed to like, once inside the room, you are confined by this room. But, through practice, if you know that actually you are not limited by this room, then, you will gradually sense beyond this, actually no limitation.

And, suppose you, through this, you understand, oh, the basic part is ″Self″ is just a concept, and no reality, and that actually it’s limitless. But, next moment, in daily life, you know, if I hit you, you begin to be angry, right? So, for us to become truly free from what we have been, you know, grasping and constructed, and become like a cage, a mental cage, on ourselves, is not easy, no easy matter. But, it's not hopeless. The way out is through, you know, you adopt—no need to have many Dharma practices—one simple one, keep doing it, and engage in some Dharma services, because it's only giving, no, no—not for yourself, you know, then, gradually, you will—your mind will be free from just always thinking about yourself.

And also, when you engage in Dharma practices, again we look at Sakyamuni Buddha. After He became Enlightenment, He spread the teachings, He didn't say, oh, I want to solve all your worldly problems, or improve your economic situation; no, He didn't try to do this kind of thing. How come He didn't work on this—because these are real suffering, real problems in our lives?  And He’s supposed to be most compassionate, how come He didn't try to solve these? Because, as long as people still hold on to their ″Selves″, there will be no end to all this kind of problems. The real solution is for everyone to become free from their ″Selves″, then, even in difficult situations, they have peace, they have happiness. So, it's not, you know, trying to fight with others, or force them to do something; no, just tell them, you know, the root of your problem is like this, and to become free, to become happy, to have peace, then you have to work out your own solutions, because the grasping is your grasping, only when you are willing to give up, then you can become free. That's the only ultimate solution to all the problems.

The reason that I have to bring this up is because it's a very important point in your Dharma practices. If you try to, say, oh, criticize others, or try to influence others—oh, you waste your own time; why? You are still one with ″Self″—you cannot become free, then, what's the point? You try to force others or convince others; they don't accept, they don't believe, what's the point? Energy wasted, misdirection, that's not—to save your own energy and time on your own cultivation which is most important. Why? Because after you become so free, you can tell people the right practice, the right view, and you can pray for many people, then, at that time they will listen to you because they see the real results, and they will voluntarily want to change themselves, that's the only way.
 
So, you know, I also didn't understand this point at the beginning of my practices; it's after years, then I realized, oh, one should concentrate on one's practice, that will be really fruitful, otherwise, you waste your time. And now come to carrying out in daily life as Dharma thinks should be, then everyone has to figure out, you know, under your own circumstances, what is the best you can do now. There is no way that you can make drastic change, right? But, you have to learn to, oh, give up social, give up many things that's just taking up your time with no real results in the end, and with the hope that gradually, you know, you have real experience of the benefits of Dharma, and then you can share those experiences with others, in that way to help them. You don't have to worry about, oh, right away I make you feel very good—maybe you don't find me helpful right now, but eventually you find me helpful, that's my goal. That's the way to carry out Dharma in life, you know, yah.

Full Enlightenment is to go back to the original stage when all are in oneness, no way to distinguish between me and others, me and other objects, oh, everything is oneness; and such reality is beyond human concept, beyond human words. And that is why Sakyamuni at first remained silent, because how to express, how to communicate something that’s beyond words, beyond concepts?

So, in your own Dharma practices you should work hard on it, try to do it all the time, and as much as possible, and then gradually, there will be someday when your thinking automatically stops. It doesn't mean that you cannot think, but right now, you know, you cannot stop thinking, right? Thoughts, worries constantly there, but it will naturally stop—originally there is no thought. That's a critical point, the real things are all after that. And I bring this out, so, you know, you know, when you reach that, you know, oh, this is just beginning to gradually touch the real thing. But don't take this state of thinking naturally stopped as a goal, and say I want to arrive that, then that wish becomes a hindrance. And, just concentrate on Dharma practices, and when someday that happens, you understand that, oh, no need to worry, this is just beginning to have relaxation.
 
So, my talk is like this, just all the things that I really feel, and that's as much as I think enough for this talk. And, I hope that, you know, whatever you get from this will help you on the Dharma path.
 

Auspicious Completion

 

June 10, 2018
Transcribed in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Reviewed and Revised in El Cerrito, California

 

 

[Home][Back to list]