(1) Buddha Dharma is the Light of Deliverance
Dear Dharma Friends! In this desolate and miserable period, it is precious to have such a valuable opportunity here and now to share Dharma with joyful hearts. We should all therefore greatly honor the benevolence of the Triple Gem and the compassion of the Buddha.
This is the first Dharma Talk I have given in Xin Yuan Monastery during this Chinese New Year. Thus I have taken "The Light" as the theme of my talk. I have seen so many people looking for brightness and hope in their lives. No doubt, living in the light is blissful and peaceful. However, the universe is full of gloom. Who, or what, can give us hope
The answer is the Buddha and the Dharma. In other words, brightness will only eventuate if one believes and practises the Dharma.
We often hear others commenting that the world is gloomy. Conflicts and violence are everywhere, and they create agitation and anguish. Buddhists understand these problems and seek for brightness within the dark.
From the perspective of Buddha-Dharma, the cause of darkness and chaos in this human world is grounded in the sentient beings themselves. We often think that we are very intelligent and capable. But in actual fact, we are not. We often mistake the bad deed for the good deed, and not many of us are interested in doing good. The activities that bring us suffering are often misconstrued as sources of excitement and happiness. Do you think then that human beings are really so clever and intelligent
Let me take an example. Human beings are getting more knowledgeable nowadays. Science and technology are advancing. Harmful products are continuously being produced by these intelligent minds. What are the threats that they have brought to the mankind
Fear and worries consequently arise. Everyone fears the explosion of wars and nuclear weapons. This is a cogent evidence that our intellect is misleading us. Therefore various discoveries and so-called material "progress" may in fact harm us and leave us with a nagging sense of insecurity.
I am not condemning the advancement of science and technology, but demonstrating the ignorance of the human beings. We do not know how to make proper use of science; rather, we are being used by it. This is comparable to a kitchen-knife being used as a weapon to kill oneself rather as a cutting utensil for food. Because science is not used wisely, we end up living and groping in the dark in spite of our advanced science and technology. The Buddha Dharma points out the path to brightness whilst we are groping in the dark.
Amidst the darkness, feelings of fear and grief often engender illusions. We may either see nothing or perceive incorrectly. We may assume a rope as a snake; or mistake a shadow as a human body; or are headed in a wrong direction.
Religions in the world believe that they have shown humans the light and brightness of life. The worldly scholars also assume their own knowledge as the Universal Truth. But in fact, we can find the truth most clearly revealed in the Buddha Dharma, the teaching of the Buddha. Since Sakyamuni Buddha attained enlightenment 2000 years ago, the bright light began to shine into our hearts and illuminate the whole universe. The "Amitabha Buddha", whose name everyone recites nowadays, means "Infinite Brightness". Buddha emits two lights to help sentient beings. They are the light of wisdom and the light of compassion. The light of wisdom shows us what has happened before this life and what will happen after this life. It enhance our understanding of skilful and unskilful actions, and tells us the causes of suffering. It also shows us the way to end suffering so that we will be liberated and happy. If we receive and follow the guidance of this light of wisdom, many mistakes…
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