The eternal life and the law of the universe
Harvard University, Boston, U.S.A. October 27,1989.
I have just mentioned about Master Hui Neng. He was illiterate. He couldn't read, couldn't write. But he was famous for many centuries and even more famous now, since the Zen Buddhism, or Ch'an or the China Buddhism is making its way to the West. Because the God nature or the kingdom of God is within us, or the Buddha nature is inborn within us. This is what we call "wisdom" in scientific terminology, or what we explain as the 95 percent of the capability that we have not used. Understand that? Because the scientists have proved that we use only 5 percent of our wisdom, of our brain capacity. The one who can use 100 percent of his wisdom or intelligence, that is the Buddha, that is the Christ, that is the Lao-Tze, that is the Krishna or Mohammed, or whoever you believe has the greatest brain power in our world. They are the ones who know the secret of access into the whole kingdom of our intelligence. That is what we call the kingdom of God.
Everything lies within ourselves. The Nirvana is the same thing. Buddhas, Christ are all born out of this kingdom of God. No one has been born without this kingdom of God or without this Buddha nature, just like the waves are born from the ocean. Now, is there any way to gain control over this 100 percent of our intelligence? Yes, there is the way. There are many ways. There are short ways, long ways, big ways, small ways, easy ways and difficult ways. Some people do them with prayers, fasting, austerities or all kinds of effort. These things we have read in the books of ancient wisdom. How people sacrificed everything in order to find God and to find the Buddha nature. But nowadays, if we follow these rigorous paths, it is too hard, too time-consuming. We can't just go into the jungle and leave the society behind.
In the ancient time, people had less desires and less comfort in life. Even though they wanted, they couldn't have it. Nowadays we have more temptation due to more comfort. Sometimes, we don't want this and that. But the neighbor has it, and the wife will not let us rest until she obtained the same, or the husband vice versa. In the olden days, people would be satisfied if they had just a few clothes or a little bit thing to eat. There were no newspapers, communication, no TV, or not such-like. Therefore people were not tempted to want more things. So their time was more in plenty. They could use it to practice on their hobby like to find God.
Now, to find God is also a hobby, anyhow. For me, it is a hobby. It is a very pleasurable hobby. Now people have different hobbies, but the greatest hobby, they forget. That is how to find God, how to find the Buddha nature within. It is not as difficult to find God as to earn money, I may tell you. We work very hard, 8-10 hours a day, and even then it be squandered away very fast if we are not careful. And even if we are careful, we can make the ends meet a little bit, and a little bit more for the old age, nothing more. But if we find the kingdom of God, it lasts forever. Whatever intelligence, wisdom, happiness, joy we find, it will always be ours. Never ever will be squandered away. Never ever anyone can steal it from us. And even then our material gain will also be on the way. Therefore in the Bible, it is said, "Seek you first the kingdom of God, and then all the things shall be added unto you."
That is why the ancient people they know where the everlasting happiness is, so they practice a way of life, the Tao, practice the Buddhist way or the Christian way. You see, I was born as a Catholic and a Buddhist, both, so I have to speak for both. I hope you don't mind. Also since Dr. Tavanty already mentioned that we, the Au Lac people have the tradition of open-mindedness, freedom of thought, and freedom of belief. So I have to carry on our tradition to be faithful to our Au Lac tradition. In Au Lac a Catholic husband and a Buddhist wife go hand in hand to the church in the morning and go to the temple in the afternoon. Most of our people do not discriminate or make a big fuss about who is the best one and what is the highest religion. If you are happy with your religion, fine! I'm happy with mine. We may learn from each other some good points.
Anyhow, who are we to judge the Buddha? Who are we to judge Jesus Christ? We weren't even there then. We didn't even know how great they were, what did they do. We can judge from the good laws they left behind for us, from the good preachings, from the outstanding examples of their sacrifices and love. Then we know Jesus was all right. Then we know Buddha was great. We cannot criticize them in any way at all. For what they have done for humanity, neither of them should be criticized. Whoever follows Christ they should be a good Christian. Whoever follow the Buddha they should be a best Buddhist. That's all our duty. Not to criticize or not to compare.
So, therefore in every speech, I wouldn't emphasize people to follow me, to cut their hair to become a nun or to become a Buddhist even. If you are Christian, you remain there. If you are any at all, you remain there. Even if you are an atheist, I also try not to convince you the existence of God. I will only want to show you the existence of God or of the Buddha nature, and then you will believe. Because if we do not see God, if we do not see the Buddha nature within us, it is very difficult to believe, no? So we cannot blame the atheists for not believing in God. It's not everyone that are blessed with not seeing, however believing. So for some who are not believing by not seeing, we offer the opportunity to see God or to see Buddha nature. That is what we call immediate enlightenment.
Knowing your own nature, and knowing the kingdom of God within that we may believe. Because when we are enlightened, whether we are Christians, or Buddhists or Taoists, we find the same stuff, we find the same wisdom, the same kingdom, the same Nirvana. There is no difference. I have been there. I found no difference. It is one place, the same. Actually, to say "a place" is also a way of speaking only. But must not necessarily be a place if you are enlightened. It is a state of mind. It is a higher level of consciousness, of thinking, of knowing, of understanding. That is also called the kingdom of God or the Buddha nature. It is not necessary that you fly to a beautiful place every day.
Enlightenment manifests itself in many ways. You may see beautiful places, planes of consciousness, planes of existence. Or you may manifest wisdom, and virtues in everyday life in order to serve yourself, your immediate family, your nation, and the whole world. When the famous Indian Master, Sri Ramakrishna was still alive, I expect that you heard his name, no? (Audience: Yes.) W e couldn't say he was a Buddhist, so don't say I advocate Buddhism only. I'm very equal-minded to every great saint.
So when he was alive, of course, he had many visions about God and he had many kinds of Samadhi. His disciples were also very eager to have similar kinds of Samadhi. I expect you know what Samadhi is, no? If you do not know, then I explain. Samadhi means when you are in a kind of higher level of consciousness and you lose outer connection with the world. You are in communion with God. You only see Heavenly Kingdom. You do not see the misery and the pain, and do not experience the misery and the pain of the world or any discomfort of your body and mind. You are in bliss, in ecstasy. That is what we call Samadhi. There are different levels though, but I'm not going into it tonight. If you have any questions later, we can go deeper into the subject.