According to Buddhist causality, the creation of all things results from various conditions. Among these conditions, the most fundamental and direct one is the “cause,” and the secondary indirect factors that work with the cause are “conditions.” The root cause cooperates with various conditions to create all phenomena and things known as karma.

Thus, if we want to change the result, we must start with the “cause” or “condition.” But ordinary people aren’t able to clearly see the “root cause” of many things. When an inexplicable thing suddenly occurs, what can we do to get beneficial results for ourselves?

In this video, Grandmaster JinBodhi answers this important question using many examples. If we can apply the wise methods discussed here in real life, it will add infinite happiness and light to our lives.

【You will learn】

  • Understand Buddhism and cause and effect
  • Understand the power of praise
  • People with different spiritual realms handle things in different ways
  • The influence of thoughts on behavior
  • Secret tips on solving afflictions
  • The story of the Waldorf Astoria
  • How to face and deal with fraud
  • Understand happiness

【Featured aphorisms】

  • Learning the way of the Bodhisattva means learning to repay hatred with virtue and exercise tolerance.
  • Keep causality in mind; do not sow negative karma.
  • The real hell is created in the mind; the difference between Heaven and hell is just one thought.
  • Compassion can turn bad things into good things and make good things last longer.
  • Everything has a reason and a cause.
  • Compassion creates a wonderful destiny.
  • Being reasonable does not mean blindly following procedure; following your destiny does not always mean being reasonable.
  • Compassion and wisdom must be expressed through words and behaviors.
  • Tolerance nourishes compassion, and compassion produces wisdom.
  • A successful life is all about being at ease.
  • Pay attention to your arising thoughts and be able to identify them as right or wrong.


Good day, everyone. (Good day, Master.) I have listened to what you have shared. What I want to say is: The feelings that you shared today are only temporary. After this retreat, you will realize the true effects of the chanting.

I was watching her on the TV outside. I thought: She is very lucky. She chanted for her mother-in-law and her own mother, not primarily because of her own health issues but for her mother-in-law’s health problems. She prioritized her mother-in-law even before her biological mother, which showed her utmost respect and care for her in-laws. That is what a “quality human” should do. Her husband is really blessed to have such a harmonious family. That is why smart wives love their families and the husbands reward them with the same. This is also a good example for your children. You will be treated the same by your daughter-in-law. This is cause and consequence.

When she prayed and chanted for her mother and mother-in-law, in fact, she was also getting rid of her own bad karma. Otherwise, in the near future, she might fall ill and be bedridden. I had to be honest: I just told her that there might be some issues. I directly told her that if she didn’t practice, 3 months later she would be bedridden and taken care of by others. No matter how rich you are, once you are bedridden, it is true suffering. Just imagine your body is slowly rotting away, covered with sores and pus. That is terrible, right?

It is Ning-na’s compassion and filial piety that moved Buddha and bodhisattvas to clear her blocked blood vessels, and let her regain health and improve her family relationships. Everything runs smoothly in a harmonious family. Right? Your family business and children’s careers would only prosper in such a peaceful and harmonious family. You will be living happily because family members love each other.

If you hate going home after work, if you are annoyed and feel like you are living with a pack of wolves, that is because of the bad relationships between family members. You are scared to see your in-laws, who always scold you. Harmony and peace are the main elements in creating a happy, perfect life. Family is our most important base camp. If your base camp is not peaceful, you’ve lost half of your happiness. So, it is extremely important.

What I teach in this retreat isn’t simply chanting. We learn to appreciate and be gracious. We also learn 3 kinds of illuminated compassion. With a higher mental state, your heart can brighten up the world and love those around you. Are you going to light up others using your compassion? If yes, then why would you say harsh things to others? Why not speak softly? Please remember cause and effect: What you give is what you get. Seeking revenge can be an endless trap.

Let all your hatred for others end right here, right now. Don’t commit sins, and don’t accumulate bad karma. Also, people with an advanced mental state will repay hatred with virtues. They treat those who hurt them with compassion and gentleness. Say, if your gossip ruined their jobs or even marriages, it would be typical that they might hate you for the rest of their lives. Especially for some ladies, they have one or 2 enemies-for-life. They just won’t forgive and let go of the hatred. You have the right to hate, because you’re hurt.

However, you will suffer the endless pain; that is causality. Your complaints might lead your children to take revenge for you. The worst situation is: They may kill your enemy to ease your pain. That is how parents impact their children; violent acts can result. That is horrible. Your hatred is quelled but your son’s life is ruined because of this. Therefore, those who learn the Bodhisattva’s Way should repay hatred with virtues: Although you don’t treat me well, I won’t hate you – I will chant for you. I will greet you when I see you. You may ignore or scold me for the first 10 greetings, but I believe you will be moved at the 11th greeting. Your life might even be saved at the 12th greeting. So, compassion can turn bad to good as the good prevails and lasts longer.

Learn to repay hatred with virtues, not the other way round. If you do evil to those who help you, you will end up in hell. That is the way it is. People will ask, “Does hell really exist? Have you been there?” Well, I haven’t been there. Let’s assume that there’s no hell. I believe the real hell that exists is the “spiritual hell.” If your life is full of enemies, will you be happy? If all you ever think of is revenge, can you work and live well? If you have nothing but hatred, are you going to be loved? No way. Even if you have a job, you will lose it. Because you live on hatred. Once it becomes a habit, the harm is tremendous. All those around you hurt the most.

You hurt others but, in fact, you’re hurting yourself. Your boss will soon fire you because of your bad conduct. You repay his appreciation with betrayal. Your salary is more than what you deserve according to your ability. Yet, you still cheat and steal from your boss. He catches you but you still blame him. That is how you get fired. You lose your job. Then, a breakup awaits. You can’t even feed yourself, how can you afford a girlfriend? Your sweet promises may keep you together no more than 3 days. After starving for 3 days, she will go with whoever gives her food. In any relationship, it is heart-wrenching to face a betrayal.

The Bodhisattva’s Way is to repay hatred with virtues, and be forgiving. To pray and chant for others. To elevate your state of mind, chant for your enemies. Living with endless resentment and hatred, how can you be peaceful? If you can’t let go of your anger, you are going to get hurt. As long as you’re still attached to hatred, you risk hurting those around you, and definitely hurting yourself. So, the hell is in your spiritual world. You are the creator of your own hell and Heaven.

Thus, we must keep learning and elevating ourselves to get rid of our obstacles. Learn to become an ocean. Oceans accept and accommodate water from all rivers and streams. No matter whether there are dead logs, dead animals, clear water, golden sands or colorful gemstones, the ocean embraces them all. Have a heart as big as an ocean. Turn it into an ocean of compassion, and then this ocean will naturally become an ocean of wisdom.

You may tell me that it is not easy for you to let go of your hatred. I don’t expect you can let go of your hatred immediately. To melt a 100,000-year-old glacier, it takes a long time even if you burn it with fire. It is a long process. It won’t be melted instantly. It needs a certain amount of time. Since we have this chance to get together, I share with you what I know: When you take revenge on others, you are indeed hurting yourself. It is a stupid, narrowminded act which shows your pettiness.

People admire and prefer to make friends with those with broad hearts. A true friend will lend you money even if you have scolded him. You should be grateful. Imagine yourself seeking revenge just because you are insulted. You are petty and you will hate and abandon him. Though you won’t take revenge, you hate him. We admire broadminded people. Broadmindedness will reward you with compassion and wisdom.

Use a compassionate heart to shine upon the world. Repaying grievances with kindness transforms the bad into the good and prolongs the good.

People learn Buddhadharma from me and ask, “What is Buddhism?” People with or without religious beliefs may ask you, “What is your belief?” You reply, “Maybe Buddhism. I follow my mother.” “What is Buddhism?” “I don’t know.” “Do all monks believe in Buddhism?” “I don’t know.” Let me tell you what Buddhism is. Buddhism is compassion. The fundamental theory of Buddhism is cause and effect. These 2 points are more than enough to describe Buddhism.

Again, what is Buddhism? (Compassion.) Compassion. Forgiveness and wisdom will follow and are derived from it. Being compassionate, you will be rewarded with wealth. However, you are not making money with Buddhism, that is greed. Right, Buddhism is compassion. The ideological theory of Buddhism, which is supported by Buddha’s teachings, is the theory of causality.

A “theory” is a concept. You eat because you are hungry, that is the cause and effect. Why did you hit others? Because others yelled at you. Why do you always think of seeking revenge and killing? Because you were bullied in childhood. Everything happens for a reason. Why does a girl suddenly get her hair permed and styled? She is ready to find a boyfriend. It is cause and effect. We can speculate like detectives solving a case. They look into the evidence and ask why. There must be a “cause” that leads to a “result.”

Why do you come to my classes? Some say, “To find love.” You come to learn “compassion.” If people come for “love,” there is nothing wrong with that. It is OK for you to come because of our handsome cameraman. We should hire more handsome boys in the future. Some come because of health. Some come because they are lonely. They have nothing to do at home. Regardless of your reasons, maybe it is fate that you have come here.

You have learned a lot from me. What I have said may not be the “truths”. I will let you decide if my words are the “truths” or not. You don’t need to do exactly as I say. But I would like to ask you about your homework from yesterday. Did the female practitioners praise their husbands when you got home? Didn’t you? Yesterday. (Yes.) What was his reaction? Did you feel loved? (Yes.) You missed this feeling for over 10 years. Just some praise from you, and your husband fell in love with you all over again.

Some may call this a dirty trick. Well, if you don’t give praise, other women might give it to your husband. That is the wisdom to maintain a happy and harmonious family. (Yes.) Though you have the karmic-bond with Buddha, I can’t ask you to have a tonsure and become a monk or nun. I see you all have a karmic-bond with Buddha, so you are welcome to have a tonsure.

You’re agreeing to become a monk or nun? If you become a monk or nun, you must leave your spouse. (OK.) If you want to be a monk or nun, I need your spouse’s permission first. If you want to be a nun just because you can’t find a husband, no way. That is loneliness, not belief. Alright? What if you become a nun then regret it later? How about falling in love after your hair grows back? No way. This isn’t what we want. We want real wisdom.

Whether your head is shaved or not doesn’t affect your wisdom. My head was shaved when I was 3, but I was still slow-witted. Your hair doesn’t decide your intelligence. The Buddha had a head of curly hair, but he was absolutely wise. Right? The Buddha had long and curly hair, but he was still wise. Even if we shave all our hair, we don’t have wisdom. It is not about your hair or your clothes. Wisdom is formless, so how do we present it? Through your daily expressions: your speech and behavior. Your speech and behavior convey your wisdom and compassion.

I want my students to manage their family relationships well. Did you go back and praise your children? (Yes.) Any positive feedback? (Yes.) Yes. I am sure there was. If your children don’t listen to you, just praise them, it is easy. Soon they will be touched and ask you, “Mom, what do you want me to do?” If you always scold and compare them with other kids, of course they are going to rebel against you. They might even think of leaving home. They would just want to hide from you and go wandering. In fact, you need to communicate with your children and praise them. This is the first and easiest way.

Secondly, you need the right mentality. I want you to look at the positive and bright side of your children. Don’t always compare them with kids who do better than them. If your kids behave and eat well, that is good enough. Some teenagers still need their parents to push them to eat. That’s a serious situation. No need to worry about which college they will go to. You have to worry about whether they can live to 18 years old. So, be happy if they live and behave normally. They came to this world bringing your family great joy and hope. You love your children because they bring you happiness. It is wrong to treat them harshly when sometimes they don’t listen to you. You should be grateful to have them bringing you happiness.

Good education for children is very important. As parents, you must learn to find their talents and strengths. One of our 3 illuminations is “illumination of consciousness”. It includes the observation ability. Can you see your kid’s advantages, such as his kindness to animals? A simple behavior or act makes you realize he is on the right track. That is what you should hope for, not only about the education.

Going to university isn’t the only goal of life. A janitor who cleans the toilets can be a graduate of famous colleges. He could be a graduate of Tsinghua in China, or the UTAR in Malaysia. There are too many college graduates. What’s so special about them? You don’t need a degree to be a janitor. Don’t waste your time. Start early if you want to be a janitor. By the age of 23, you would be the expert.

Everybody has different life purposes and destinies. Not everyone becomes a high-ranking official or CEO. Your self-acknowledgment determines if you are happy or not. In Taiwan, we rarely cook for ourselves. We mostly eat out. Most of the waiters we meet in the restaurants are nice and friendly. Their smile is natural and chatting with them makes you feel comfortable. Also, the food in Taiwan is delicious.

In Vancouver and Mainland China, the food is still OK, but sometimes you are angry and lose your appetite because of the waiters’ attitudes. They put down your plate with a loud bang. When you ask them for more water, they pretend not to see you. It takes them forever to come over, and impatiently they ask, “What’s the matter?” “Can I have more water?” “Alright.” But she brings back the wrong cup. I tell her it is not my cup. She says, “What is your problem? Drink it or leave it.” She puts down the water and leaves. Would you drink the water? I bet you would feel you were drinking poison.

When dealing with the same matter, your thoughts affect your feelings and the decisions you make. Hence, you could have misjudged your career. You may think serving food is a low-class job because you’ve defined being a waiter as low-class. What about the waiters in Taiwan? They don’t feel that way. They are happy with their work. Actually, some waiters are from rich families. They just want to earn their life experience by being a waiter. Trying to make their life perfect and complete.

People without such mentality feel it is disgusting to serve others. They think others will see them as slaves if they serve people. It is all because of the wrong perception of their job that they feel happy or disgusted. If they continue to do it for 3 years, they would go crazy or have a heart attack.

But if they appreciate their job, not only won’t they get sick, it is a good practice for them. They learn that being a waiter isn’t an easy job. They need to have the right skills and attitude. With the right mentality, you can give a heartfelt smile to everyone. People who can do what seems like a “low-class” job, and do it with a smile, regardless of their age, have a high mental state, indeed. I have great respect for them.

One thought can take you to Heaven or hell. Today’s lesson is a little advanced. One thought can make you live or die, good or bad, happy or sad. Therefore, if you’re married, do respect and care for your in-laws. Serving your family is not a “cheap” job. You should be grateful for having the chance to do it.

Buddhism is compassion. Buddhist theory is based on causality. A thought can determine life or death, good or bad, and happiness or troubles.

More than 20 years ago, I met a young guy in China. He wore a big gold watch and spoke arrogantly. I said, “What an expensive watch!” He replied, “It is.” Later he told me that it was fake gold. He didn’t want others looking down on him. Back then, a mobile phone was quite expensive. Again, he bought a fake one and it rang like a real one. It was actually an empty case. That was in the ’90s. He pretended to have made big money so he could find a girlfriend. He could only afford a fake phone. A real one cost about 30,000 RMB.

He spent 30 RMB to get the fake phone, which had a real ringtone. He pretended to answer: “Hey, Zhang, you still owe me 200 million.” People didn’t realize it was fake because it looked real and expensive. Not many people could afford one. While he was playing these tricks on others, he was tricked by another swindler. In the end, he lost his 30,000 RMB of savings to the swindler. He came to ask for my help. I cheekily asked him, “Where is your fake mobile phone?” He said, “They took it away when they hit me.”

Now you know that we must stay on the right track. One thought determines your joy and happiness. Do things for your loved ones — I mentioned previously, the guy who fed his girlfriend apples. He loved doing it; he didn’t feel ashamed or tired. He might feed her bite by bite and she wouldn’t even have to use her hands — when you are happy and do it with love, you don’t feel tired. Now, imagine a gang leader caught a traitor. He asks the traitor to feed him an apple like the guy fed his girlfriend. I think the traitor would rather die than do it. But if it is for your love, you would worry you are not doing it well enough. Not only would you bite off the peel for her, you would feed her with your mouth.

When doing anything, your feelings determine if it is fun or painful. I would do it with love. That is the positive and proactive thought. When Sakyamuni Buddha was teaching his disciples with mental states as high as that of the bodhisattvas, Buddha reminded them to pay attention to their thoughts. “Thoughts” refers to ideas that come to your mind instantly. You must be able to analyze your thought at that very moment. Too advanced? Let’s try doing it.

For example, in the morning, your kids scream at you, “Mom, where are my clothes? Where are my pants?” As a loving mother, you would immediately get the clothes for them. What if you are an evil stepmother? You may say, “You want your pants? Are you asking me to get them for you? You have got some nerve! How dare you yell at me!” That is how thought affects us. If you are their biological mother, you think that is your mission. Right? You would even pick 3 pairs of pants for them to choose from. Because you enjoy preparing the clothes for them.

Mothers are always devoted to their children. Right? Some mothers start to worry if their kids haven’t asked for them in 3 days. You feel neglected if they don’t bother you. But you may start to complain when they ask you again for their toothbrush, toothpaste, or toilet paper, etc. A mother is like a maid to them, always running errands for them. But still you’re so willing to bring them toilet paper. Well, if it is someone else’s child asking you to bring him toilet paper, you might not have the patience and would even feel irritated.

For the same situation, different thoughts lead to different outcomes. People who have negative thoughts, not only do they hurt others, they fall sick easily too. Our bodies look similar on the outside. But deep inside, it’s a different story. The negative people will be avoided by everyone. If you are happy and positive, and those around you always receive the joy and help, everyone will love you, which makes you feel alive. Though you dedicate a lot, you feel happy doing it. And that helps you gain more friends and wisdom. There won’t be obstacles in your way.

Here is a little secret to deal with afflictions. If you are facing problems, talk to your friends. That is the secret to dealing with your afflictions. Some of you may feel disappointed, or think that I am hiding things. However you feel, please take note of it. One day, you will know it is truly effective. Facing problems alone seems like a dead end, but sharing with friends may give you a way out. You see it as a disaster, but others may see it as a treasure. Try it yourself. But first, you need to have friends.

Furthermore, no matter how capable or educated you are, life without friends is tough and hard. You can be illiterate, but if you have many friends, you’ll realize you are respected and admired for your capability. Because when you share your problems with your friends, they all come to help you. It turns problems into happiness. So, I have told you my secret. I believe it is because we have a good connection.

This is a solution for your afflictions. The only condition is that you must have friends. You don’t need me to teach you how to make good friends. You need to be compassionate and kind. Secondly, you need to give and dedicate yourself. You can bear challenges and hardships. Everything happens for a reason. Please do remember that. So, there is always a cause when things happen. And it takes conditions to make every incident happen. If suddenly you are asked to do something, there must be a reason that is beyond your expectation. And this cause may lead to another condition. You have to figure it out yourself as I won’t explain further.

Here is a true story that I’ve told many times. It happened on a snowy winter’s night. There was a nice hotel with a front desk clerk. At midnight an old couple came in. They said, “We need a room, please.” The clerk replied, “Sorry, sir, unfortunately our hotel is full. Due to the heavy snow, our guests have to stay longer.” “This is the third hotel we’ve checked. It is late and we are really tired. We can’t walk any further to another hotel. Because of the snow, there is no carriage to give us a ride.”

At that moment, the clerk’s compassion arose. He took pity on the old couple, as they reminded him of his parents. He wanted to help them and said, “Please wait a moment.” When he came back he said, “Sir, if you don’t mind, I have a dorm room for the nightshift workers. It isn’t as neat as the guestrooms, but you can stay for the night.” The couple replied, “That’s great. We can even sleep on the floor.” “Oh no. There is a bed and comforter. It is for the male staff. I will make the room available for you both. Anyway, we are on duty and we can’t sleep tonight.”

And so the clerk gave the couple his dorm room to stay in. The next morning, the old couple thanked the young man and left. A couple months later, a luxury car was sent to pick him up. The chauffeur said he was sent by a local wealthy man. The clerk asked, “Am I hearing it right?” “Yes, that is right. He sent me to pick you up.” “But I don’t know him. Is there a mistake? Anyway, I will go with you.” Then he realized it was the old couple he had met. They were a famous millionaire couple in town. They thought that the young man was kind and gracious.

What he had done had far exceeded the duties of an ordinary worker. And he had done it very reasonably. The manager should have appreciated such superb service. Just like that, the couple bought the hotel, and later gave it to the young man, who continued to run the business. Such a compassionate kind thought can benefit us tremendously. A compassionate heart makes people feel warm and turns strangers into friends. This is what I mean when I say that everything happens for a reason with the right conditions. That is the way it is.

How can a night of heavy snow be a prank? If this happened to you, how would you handle it? You may say, “I don’t know you and I am not the owner. We are busy and we have a full house. Better you leave or sit on the chairs. That is all I can do. I am not giving my room to you.” Who’d offer their bed to strangers? But then, the young man did. It was a thought of compassion that he benefited from. After hearing this, you might want a snowy night here too. Lightning doesn’t strike twice.

I believe compassion brings forth good causes. Even problems that come to you or cost you could be good causes. But if you want good causes, you shouldn’t be greedy. Greed is the downfall of everything. You lose more when you are greedy. Therefore, when such a compassionate thought arises, it is important to know whether it is good or bad. When you help people, you don’t judge them by their looks. Or by whether they are wearing luxury watches and clothes. You don’t analyze or calculate the benefit you may gain. Your genuine compassion and wish to help will bring a good outcome.

But when facing all these happenings, you must accept that they are meant to happen. They happen for a reason that may not be expected. Like our encounter right now, nobody knows how it happened.

Everything is for a reason. Everything may be due to karma. A compassionate heart may create good karma.

Of course, there are situations that end badly. There could be scams, lies or defamation. However, don’t blame me if you are cheated by others. You have to be compassionate but must be cautious too. It is how you consider the situation. If you are not greedy, you won’t be cheated.

We had a disciple in the United States. She was the head of a center then. She is smart but quite narrowminded. Her problem was she would never report to me the whole story or truth. When she felt something was not right, she used me as the “guinea pig”.

She told me that she received a letter and 2 phone calls. They came from an international corporation in Hong Kong, and told her that she had won a grand prize worth about $10,000. They asked for her passport, phone number and bank account number. Immediately she wondered if it was a scam. But she wasn’t wise enough to solve it by herself.

She said, “Master, I want to donate the money to our organization.” I said, “What a true disciple you are!” She just wanted me to take the risk of being cheated, instead of her. Anyway, I was willing to do it. She thought it could be something good. I didn’t think so. There is no free lunch in the world. The whole thing sounded so strange and too good to be true.

How exactly had she won the prize? She was told that one day when she had been in California, that international corporation had held a commercial event. They took the participants’ phone numbers and put them in a lucky draw. She was one of the participants and her number was picked. That is how she had won the prize. They said that as a reputable corporation, they must send her the prize.

This disciple wasn’t convinced and she called them back. But even after the call, she still had doubts. She had awareness, but also greed. That is a lot of money. Why did she want to donate, anyway? Because she thought I would let her keep half of the money. She did her calculation. I joked, “Donate all of it?” She hesitated and said, “Um…of course. I have talked to my kids. Although we need money too, we will donate it all.”

She is smart. She hadn’t received the money, but she planted the seed that although they needed money, they would still donate the money. Well, she is smart, but I am wiser. I knew her. I wanted to solve the case too. So I kept calling that Hong Kong corporation for 2 hours on the speakerphone and everyone could hear. My little tricks totally destroyed their scam. I started calling at midnight until the staff couldn’t stand me anymore. He begged, “Please don’t call anymore. Yes, we are swindlers. Would you please let me sleep?”

Since they said they collaborated with an international bank, I called the international bank. It was the same person who answered. It was the same guy who answered for the bank and the company. Finally, he couldn’t bear my phone calls anymore and admitted that he was the only person who answered the calls. But the disciple still wanted to call again the next day for the money. I let her make the call. She is too greedy. They are preying on you for your money.

Swindlers are getting more advanced. Their criminal scope is worldwide, even in Canada. When they call and you answer in Chinese, they would claim that they are calling from the Chinese Embassy and need to verify your personal information on your passport. If you provide them your info, then you are falling into their trap.

We had an 80-year-old disciple who was a real estate agent. Her son was a lawyer. One day, she received a phone call from a company telling her that she’d won a prize of $60,000. She said, “Wow, no wonder my left eye has been pulsing for the last 2 days.” She was happy because the left eye pulses for money, and the right for disaster. The caller said, “Sure. You got it.
That is why we are calling you. You are so lucky. Now, I need to verify your name and age.”

After he got her info, he said, “To receive your prize…” I am not exactly sure how he worded it. “You have to send us $6,000 for a tax deduction. After that, we will send the money to your account. So, send us the tax and you will receive the money 2 hours later.” She said, “OK. But I have to tell my son, he is a lawyer.” “Well, after that, we might just have one hour left
for you. Do you think you have enough time to send us the tax money?”

Finally, she sent the $6,000 to him before telling her son. A week later, she still hadn’t received the $60,000. When she told her son about it, her son said, “I am handling a similar case. My client is suing the swindlers, but they are all gone. Mom, did you get scammed too? Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” She said, “I was too excited. And I wanted to give the money to your brother. He is not a lawyer. He can’t make as much money as you can.”

Just like that, she lost $6,000. She came to me and said, “Master, please eliminate my bad luck. I thought I was so lucky.” And then she even tried to blame me. “Master, I thought it was a gift you granted me.” “Of course not. I would never reward my disciples this way.”

You won’t get rich relying on gambling and lucky draws. In the States or other countries, those who win the jackpot or lottery can rarely live in peace. They feel very unsafe or even lose their lives. Because they have never been so wealthy. All of a sudden, they won $200 million. It came out of nowhere. Would you be able to accept it? Raise your hand if you think you would. But make sure you are tired of living. No matter how strong you are mentally, if it really happens to you, I am afraid you would either have a heart attack or go insane immediately.

Those who do not go crazy, it is because they don’t really have the money. Swindlers who claim they have $200 million are clear-minded because they are actually still poor. Those who get wealthy through gambling or illegal means are usually mentally unstable. I am not sure if I will anger someone by saying this… I don’t believe you would live well after hitting a jackpot in a casino. If it had really happened to you 3 years ago, you’d be penniless by now. It is an inevitable phenomenon, for no one can beat the casino.

This is my reminder to you: When facing all good or bad conditions, you must be aware of your thoughts arising at that moment. When a thought arises, ask yourself: “Is this thought good or bad? Is it greed-driven or not?” I suggest you always remember the “illumination of knowledge.” Post the 3 “illuminations” in your house, car, everywhere to remind yourselves. It is for your benefit. We don’t have the Divine-Eye, so these words will remind us to observe and think.

Don’t just think that you are lucky and your left eye pulses for a reason. In fact, if your left eye pulses too much, it means loss of money. If it pulses once or twice, you could get lucky. It is a problem if it pulses too much. If it pulses like a machine, it could be a nerve problem. When anything reaches extremity, it reverses its course. No matter how good or bad the situations are, do what I have taught you: Remain calm, composed; have no greed or selfish thoughts. With a pair of clear, calm eyes to look into the matter, maybe you will figure out a peaceful outcome.

So, noble people, I mean those who are extremely noble, always observe and analyze their thoughts the moment they arise. When a seed starts to germinate, I’d monitor it to see if the new sprout is growing healthily so that I could fix it if something is wrong. When greed arises, I have to say, “no. This money has come so suddenly, I had better refuse to
take it.” Just deal with it calmly.

Normally, we earn money through our hard work. We feel good. If this is not the case, something is wrong and it could be a trap. It could be very dangerous for you. What you think is fortunate might turn out to be risky. However, when everyone says it is risky to invest, it could be a chance to get rich. When people try to sell their house but no one comes to buy, it could be the chance for whoever buys it to earn big.

In the 1940s, property prices in Tokyo, Japan, hit a new low. It was almost the end of World War II. Fighting that war, Japan lost almost everything. Properties and jewelry were dirt cheap. There was a Chinese man who’d migrated to Japan in the 1930s. He was the descendant of an important official in the Qing dynasty. He brought lots of gold and silver with him. He didn’t join the army because he was a Chinese immigrant. He was both smart and silly.

There is a district called Ginza in Tokyo, right? Have you heard about it? I have been there. It is a prosperous, bustling district. There are business towers and world-class banks on one main street. Half of the street belongs to this Chinese man. At that time, housing prices there were much lower than ours here. Property prices were extremely low. Even the Japanese said, “Our country is dying!” As prices kept dropping, people wanted to sell their property quickly. So, this Chinese man bought properties at the lowest possible price. Just like that he became a big landlord. You can imagine how wealthy he was.

When there is a risk, there is a chance. However, all chances contain risks. You need to think, observe, and identify the risks. I hope what you catch is not a risk. Even if it is a risk, you could get the chance to overcome the risk.

How did I start talk about these? These should be shared with the business people. Well, at least we learn how to analyze the 2 perspectives of a matter when it happens, be it good or bad. You ought to remain calm and not be greedy.

In our last lesson, I mentioned the practice place of Guanyin Bodhisattva is called… The Purple Bamboo Forest. Its bamboo leaves are red in color. What about Manjusri’s place? It is the Realm of Coolness. Remember, you must remain calm and composed at all times. Your eyes and blood pressure must be calm and steady when analyzing matters. That is how you can avoid being scammed, take correct action, or make a well-thought-out plan. When you are very emotional, excited or angry, don’t go shopping. Especially for the ladies, don’t buy jewelry at midnight. Great achievements come with great calmness and composure.

Our Bodhi Meditation is a small business. Some disciples have good ideas for our development, but I won’t make any decision in a rush. They can talk as fancy as they want. I will say, “Let me get some sleep first.” They say, “Master, please think about it.” Maybe I will. But I need more time to accept it. When something good seems to come, it is crucial to stay calm. Acceptance is not the only way; you can reject, too.

Everyone wants benefits. However, when benefits are presented to me, I will take them under serious consideration before accepting them. Many would say, “If it is legal, why not?” I would say no. Even if it is legal, it is not appropriate. And, are you destined for it? If you are not, then you cannot bear such wealth. Things can be appropriate and legal, but they are not
destined to be yours.

As learners of Buddhism, it is crucial to take care of our thoughts. Cultivating the 3 “illuminations” isn’t an easy job. What we cultivate is learning to deal with our lives, careers, happiness, wealth, crises and disasters. Make sure when dealing with all of it that you suppress your greed, hatred, discrimination and fear. Just handle things peacefully and calmly, and have no attachment. Only with that mentality can you be composed.

Medical doctors are not encouraged to treat their family members. You should have heard about this. Also, if you are a judge in the court system, you can’t do cases which involve your family so as to avoid making a biased judgment. Due to having such a close relationship, it is easy to make the wrong judgment. That is unfair, right?

Out of love and eagerness to cure their family members, doctors could give the wrong diagnosis and prescription. Terrible things could happen. Instead of removing your right kidney, the doctor removes the left one. Your doctor may think he knows you too well, which causes him to overlook other problems. When a doctor treats a new patient, he pays more attention and works more precisely and professionally.

Thus, when you need to make big decisions, the calmer you are, the better the decision you will make. It is important to always have a calm and clear mind. I call it the “fine observation” of the “illumination of knowledge.”

Just apply it in your daily life. Don’t pick a college major for your children simply because it is popular or makes money. Are you sure they like it? Only something they like to do can become their lifetime career. Otherwise, it is wasting their time in doing something they hate. They are reluctant to study dentistry if it is not their choice. Let him be an artist if it is his passion.

What if he can’t make good money? If he feels happy, it is good enough. Happiness isn’t just about making lots of money. Not necessarily! Happiness is a subjective term. Happiness is not equivalent to having lots of money. Then, being happy means being poor? No, that is too extreme. Happiness is doing what you like. It is like falling in love. If you love each other, that is happiness.

You married a rich guy, but you are not happy. Because he is not the one you love. You married him just because of his money. So, it is difficult for you to say “I love you” to him. It is absolutely painful for you to compromise. If you are happy marrying a poor guy, then choose that poor guy. Your view on the value and definition of happiness, and if you are happy or not, will impact your life fulfillment.

There was an heir to the throne who refused to become the king of England. Because he wanted to marry his beloved girlfriend. Giving up his throne to marry a commoner brought him lots of criticism. But I do respect him. He just wanted to live a peaceful life. He didn’t care about being a king. Ruling such a big kingdom would have given him great wealth and power. Many people would fight and even die for that. But he chose to live happily with someone he loved. That is truly a high mental state.

As long as you feel comfortable, that is good enough. After knowing what a happy life is, we have to rethink our greed. So, when something happens, be it good or bad, we ought to view it with an elevated, calm mind. I guess you should understand what I have said by now.

Learn to distinguish the duality of things. In the event of gain or crisis, deal with it in a calm and unbiased way.

As this is a chanting retreat, I want you to chant more to gain the best effects. Let’s not waste time; get ready to continue with our chanting. Today, do you want to elevate your state of mind? (Yes.) Good. So chant for your loved ones. That can be anyone you love. Chant for whoever you love, but not yourself.

Don’t just care about your own problems. Sometimes, we should care for others. Just like our fellow practitioners who chanted for their in-laws, teachers, and friends. As a result, their own illness was healed. Their family relationships and careers improved. Why? It is their compassion. Compassionate people will be blessed by all buddhas and bodhisattvas. In fact, it is the fastest way for our cultivation.

Now, let’s chant for those we love, those who raised us and treat us well. And for those you like. Wish them health, longevity, luck, auspiciousness and all the best. OK? (OK.)

Alright, let’s begin.