Part Two: Dharma Discourses

Chapter Fourteen: Birth and Death


19. The Master delivered another dharma discourse on that same day: “I am filled with grief when I think of our many members who met with a tragic end during the war. However, it is said that even a great sage like the Sixth Patriarch, Huineng, was visited by a person who came to take his life, an encounter that transpired because of his past karma. As you departed spirits traveled through birth and death over infinite kalpas, how could you not have had some opportunities to create discrepant karma? Hence, your tragic ends this time have provided an opportunity to pay off a big lump of your past debts. Thus, if you instead gladly accept your tragic deaths and resolve never again to accrue any debts of mutual harm, your spiritual paths will be forever illuminated. However, if you attempt to get even through renewed conflict, that will become a source of mutual harm and your evil affinities will never get to be eradicated. All departed spirits must let go of anger and attachments and take refuge in the Buddha’s great Way of mutual life-giving, which is perfectly interfused and free from hindrances. By just one shift in your thinking, the path of mutual life-giving where you and I can both live will open up and all of us will be in harmony. On the other hand, having a single unwholesome thought will drive us all to ruin along a path of mutual conflict where you and I will both perish. All sentient beings are fellow beings and siblings who have been born within a single truth and a single heaven and earth. Hence, we are solely responsible whether we create a hell or construct a heaven of this world. This being the case, shouldn’t we create a fine world and a wonderful paradise of Ultimate Bliss? Even if transgressive karma remains for many of you deceased spirits in your futures, if you retain no resentments or grudges in your minds, then your unwholesome karma will gradually be extinguished on its own. On the other hand, even if you have no more remaining transgressive karma, if your minds retain resentment and grudges, your unwholesome karma will never disappear. Therefore, departed spirits, whether you lived well in the past or not, or have been mortified or unjustly accused, you must let go of everything and attain complete liberation and deliverance only with a pure mind and the great path of mutual life-giving, so that you may be reborn with a smile on your face in a salutary destiny in a blissful land!”