Harvard University, Boston, U.S.A. October 27,1989.
My brothers and sisters, I am very happy and honored to be with you tonight at this very old, respected and famous University of America and of the world. I have long admired and heard of the name of Harvard University. So, I am feeling very honored to be here tonight. This is due to the generosity of the administration of the college and also to the help of Mr. Tavanty and many others. When I saw you, I saw your glittering faces and shining purity from your hearts, I feel happy. So, I hope that this meeting, which started very well, will end splendidly; that I may serve you something within two hours' or three hours' lecture; that I may satisfy some of your inmost longing for God or Buddha nature or the Tao, or that you may have a little memory of who you are or where you have come from.
Now, this section of this university is the law. People here study the law of the nation, or nations, mainly study the American law, no? The law of American country. Is that right? (Audience: Yes.) So every country has different laws, but mainly to protect human's rights, to protect the order of the society, and that people are living harmoniously together. That is the purpose of the law of every nation. Now, the law of every nation, of course, depends on the character, the traditions and the wishes of the majority of the people in that country. They may agree together to bring such and such laws into practice in order to protect the lives of the people at large. Now when we look at our human stand-point, the laws are made by humans. But when we look from a transcendental view which is above human capacity, then we see sometimes, even though laws are made by people, they are governed by some other kind of invisible force. This invisible force we call in Sanskrit "karma." Karma is the Sanskrit name for the law of causes and retributions. Like we say in the Bible, in Christian terminology, "As you sow, so shall you reap." So when some Christian people question me that only the Buddhists believe in karma, I smile and tell them the Christians also believe in karma.
Every good and grand religion has to teach people the law of karma. Otherwise, why do they bother to teach people to do good and be good, if we have no retribution later or any at all, or after-life at all? Why bother to be good, to do good? Because if you are bad, you are kind of naughty and sinful, you still only have this life. So the law of karma and also consequently the law of reincarnation is very, very common. And every religion openly or secretly or I mean not hintingly, teaches this kind of law. It is the same like we have the law in every nation in order to protect the order of the society. The law of the universe is also there to protect the order and the well-being of all beings in the universe.
If we live in a country, we must know a little bit about the law of that country in order to live in harmony, also not to harm ourselves by committing some or transgressing the law. Now, when we think it over, we are not only living in a nation, but we are also living in the universe. And every nation is a kind of a room in a big mansion. So therefore it is an obligation to us, also to have to know a little bit about the universal law. After we study the law of different nations we might notice that sometimes one law in this nation doesn't apply to the other nation. For example, in our country like Au Lac, or maybe America, you can have only one wife and one husband. That is the law. Is it so in America also? (Audience: Yes.) Now if you have a second or a third, your wife or husband can take you to court and make trouble.
In Tibet, it is entirely different. Now a woman can have many husbands. One woman can marry the whole brothers of one family. No, I'm not joking. You may read it yourselves. You know if you read the books by Swami Vivekananda. Have you read any? Some of them, no? He told his experience about this. He said when he was shocked and asked a brother why they are doing such a thing. Why are they married to only one woman, five or six brothers. And the brother said: "In Tibet, it is considered selfish not to share any good thing with your brothers." So then he keeps pondering about the relativity of law and sometimes morality in this world.
Now in every country, we have to live up to the law of that country in order not to cause problems, heartbreaks to ourselves and to the others. So, we cannot say, "Well, Tibetans are like that, so we Americans learn to do the same." We can not. Because we Americans are Americans. We have our own emotions, our own background of tradition, and our own judgment. We can't just imitate anyone at all. The same like the Au Lac people, the Chinese, or any other country's people. They cannot imitate the other country's tradition. They may respect their laws. But there are other kinds of invisible laws concerning emotions and a way of living that they can not imitate.
Then now we consider that when we live in every nation, we have to follow that nation's law. So now when we are in the universe, we must also follow our universal law. That law will protect us from degrading into a lower grade of existence. For example, when we are in a country, and we commit some crimes or transgress some law, we will be put in jail or have some kind of fine. No? (Audience: Yes.) Now if we live in this universe and we commit something that is not suitable to the law of the universe, then we also have to be put in some kind of other existence which is not very pleasurable for us. That is what we call karma, the law of retribution, "As you sow, so shall you reap."
Therefore, when we want to live in harmony and do not incur displeasurable situations for ourselves, we should study some universal law. Universal law is not made by man, and is not changeable like human's law. When we see the human's law, it varies from country to country. And even the standard of morality varies from country to country. So it is hard to tell people in one country to accept the other country's law. But the universal law is always and always the same. For example, in the Bible it is stated that, "Thou shall not kill. Thou shall not commit adultery. Thou shall not steal. Thou shall love thy neighbor, love thy enemy, etc...." These will never change.
If we want to know God or our so-called Buddha nature, God or Buddha nature, for me, is the same thing. I have experienced that thing. You may call it God or Buddha nature. I know it is the same thing, just a different way of speaking. Now, if we want to experience our Godly nature or Buddha nature, or what we call the Real Face, we have to follow this law. And to follow this law is not the only thing that we must do. But that is the precondition if we want to know God or we want to know Buddha nature. So in the Bible, it is said, "Verily, I say to you, except you are born again, except you become a child, you can not enter the kingdom of God." In Taoism, Lao Tzu also said that we have to be pure again as a child.
Also in Buddhism, one of our great Patriarchs was Hui Neng. Hui Neng was the sixth Patriarch of Zen Buddhism in China. But he was originally, historically Au Lac born. Now I will not argue about this, because the Chinese wanted to claim him.So we also offer to them.It is all right. He is universal anyhow, but just for your information. Because I have to speak the truth, always speak the truth. If you want to know more about who he is, you can talk to me later. We don't want to discuss about his birth place or birth rights, just a little mentioning. Now, he said like this, "When I meditate, I only look into my own fault, I don't look into the others' fault." That means you become pure, you don't criticize others, you are just like a child. Now, aren't they the same sayings? Yes? (Audience: Yes, they are.)
You are right. Because anyone who is enlightened and who has a glimpse or many glimpses into the true nature of Godhood or Buddhahood will say and express the same opinion. They can not say otherwise. They can only say the truth and nothing but the truth. The truth may be strange, may be unfamiliar to many people. But nevertheless, very familiar to those who have wisdom and who are already feeling acquainted with the truth. We may say to ourselves, "I have never learned anything before"; "I have never been to church"; "I have never been to any Buddhist temple." "I haven't even read any Sutras." But that doesn't mean you do not know the truth. You might have known them or might have known the truth already in your previous life. Now it will take just a little more water for the seed to germinate again.