Are things that annoy you necessarily bad?

Are things that make you happy really good for you?

It is difficult to judge whether things are good or bad. What looks good is not necessarily what it appears, and what looks bad is not necessarily negative. The key lies in whether you can look at matters with wisdom. If you can’t see through all of this, it will be difficult to get rid of your worries.

This teaching contains specific methods for self-liberation and many profound and precious practice principles. Listen to it repeatedly. It will lead you to different levels of understanding and elevate your life.

【You will learn】

  • An understanding of the essence of things
  • Method for self-liberation
  • Letting go of unnecessary attachments
  • Grandmaster JinBodhi’s insightful interpretation of the Heart Sutra

【Featured aphorisms】

  • The method of self-liberation is simple: just think of yourself as a broad-minded, compassionate, wise and sincere person.
  • Only when the stress in your heart is discharged can the body and mind be relaxed and happy, thereby eliminating disease quickly.
  • Despite being unbearable and painful, matters that seemed to be negative experiences become rare and valuable experiences when you later reflect on them.
  • The beautiful things that people pursue are not necessarily truly wonderful. Only when you see the essence in things can you truly let go of them.
  • Not being restricted by troubles caused by your surroundings, but instead adjusting your surroundings that caused the trouble, is true wisdom and liberation.


Well, please be seated. Sometimes we need to assume we are a good, noble, magnanimous, and compassionate person. Even a rogue can imagine that he is a good person. OK. This way we start changing, and commit less wrongdoing. Self-reminding is actually enlightenment. Self-reminding is actually enlightenment, right? If you, on any occasion – be it in public or with your family, think you are a bad person, with this negative thought, many negative emotions and things may easily arise.

The opposite is true if we think, “I am a good person.” When there are conflicts in the family think of yourself as an open-minded good person, even though you are actually narrow-minded. Think, “I am most compassionate and my heart is as wide as the ocean. My heart is as vast as the sky and expands boundlessly.” Maybe thinking this way, you will feel you are truly as good as the Buddha. You will truly forgive others’ mistakes and avoid an unnecessary dispute, perhaps even a divorce, right?

This self-reminder, in fact, is also called self-liberation. No one in this world can help you break free. What you have heard are others’ words. The book you read is others’ words too. Not your own ideas. But the concept of human wisdom is being good at learning. What we have learned, we would keep it in our heart, we can start to use it. Being able to apply knowledge is better than just learning it. The best is its application.

When learning painting, students are first taught to copy. What is meant by “copy”? It is to imitate. Say someone has already completed his work. What you do is trace it. Right? This is much better than a closed-book exam. I really dislike that kind of test. When learning many things, we need to copy first. This is true of meditation, martial arts, dance, painting, and even foreign languages. We learn through imitating or plagiarizing others, right?

Everyone keeps quiet when the word “plagiarism” is used. It is simply a choice of word. It is just copying. We aren’t thinking in legal terms. Legally, if you quote a professor, you should indicate the source to respect the author. But learning is essentially imitating. To learn from me is to imitate some material I have spoken about. Roughly, it is like this.

Such self-reminding is very helpful to us. When things happen, it is impossible to search for answers from books. You may not find a book in a hurry. Or you may be out with no book available. Learn to integrate knowledge into your wisdom. In application, learn to self-liberate. Such a method is easy. Just think of yourself as a broadminded, compassionate, wise and sincere person, even though you are a swindler.

When a swindler thinks he is a sincere, moral person, he will start changing for the better. He will do less cheating, start to be softhearted and less ruthless. He will limit his cheating. Our learning of higher-level personal conduct implies all of us aren’t good people. Do you agree? No? I know it is hard to accept. So we will reshape and transform ourselves slowly and humbly from the form of a stinky body to being flawless, attachment-free and undefiled. It needs a slow cleansing process.

To slowly purify our body and mind is also a purpose of learning meditation. Only when we are purified and calm can we recover our health. Ailments and afflictions start to disappear. People with Divine-Eye perceive if a person is pure white, spotless, pure and peaceful. Many analogies describe such purity. For example, the lotus flowers.

Lotuses’ roots and stems are soaked in stagnant water. Can we find lotuses in the running rivers? If there is, it must be plastic and without vitality. Real Lotus grows in stagnant water. At the bottom, it is full of black mud. Rotten plants and mud act as fertilizer. Strangely, when lotuses bloom, they are pure white with pinkish-lined petal tips. Especially beautiful. A noble, pure, elegant, sense of refined, just like a green lotus.

A term to describe this status – “Passaddhi (light and calm)”. When a person’s heart is pure, and flawlessly reaching such a level, the sense of “light and calm” appears. People who are attending today’s seminar are actually expecting to be healthier, more peaceful, joyous and at ease. We walk with brisk steps; we are pressure-free regardless of financial, spiritual or mental state. We are affliction-free. Sometimes we even hop as we walk.

This is especially so for children, boys and girls. They love to run, happy and carefree. Right? Many young kids run. You feel they are at ease, happy and relaxed. Especially those toddlers who take to their legs, tend to run along like a gust of wind, totally pressure-free and happy like birds. This is our pursuit. How can we achieve such serenity and ease? Or free ourselves from the sludge of affliction and still remain flawless, purified, immaculate and noble?

It is not easy to achieve. Although this is our goal, to get there is very difficult. As I mentioned earlier, our self-reminding or self-hinting is our self-liberation. Only by letting go of our inner stress we can truly be relaxed and happy, body and mind. Our illnesses will quickly disappear.

(Self-reminding is self-liberation.)

I always ask myself difficult questions. Always asking, “Why?” “How to get to this best state?” Here is a bit of my summary. Some suggest exercising. It is a solution. So is making friends, having a job, and starting a family. If a couple can’t get along, splitting up is also important. When we encounter afflictions, our purpose is to break free. Marriage isn’t our purpose, right?

From rags to riches is also liberation. If you are still feeling stuck after striking it rich, you will be liberated by becoming a pauper again. When a rich person becomes a pauper, he will be liberated–through death. How to be truly liberated? I would like to ask some English-speaking friends.

The Western world is more liberal in their thinking and tradition. They may provide some amazing insights and views. How can we be truly liberated? (Stop thinking too much.) Stop thinking too much. Is this what you mean? Correct. (Give up everything like be nothing; you have to achieve not wanting or not holding onto anything.) Have less desire. Be less greedy. This answer is very good.

Yesterday, I mentioned the meditation states. Can anyone remember? There are 4 meditation states. What is the 4th? Samadhi. Please remember. We just had a review. We spoke about 4 meditation states yesterday. Or 4 main levels. In each level, for ordinary people, it takes a long time. Even if you have a master to guide you, 10 years is needed to pass each level. To truly master it, it takes a long time.

After reaching the 4th level, assuming you passed the previous 3 and you practice diligently, you would need 40 years. Very long. But by using a different method or shortcut, it may be that less time is required. The 4th state of meditation, we call it samadhi. It is like a fake death. Actually the person is not dead. He is still breathing, but shallowly, and his heartbeat is also slow.

It is similar to some wild animals that hibernate in winter. Bears, snakes and turtles hibernate. During winter, these animals are dormant with very slow metabolism. They stay in a coma-like state. However, it is not a coma, but hibernation. It is like a deep sleep. But this meditative state is different from hibernation, though there are some similarities. In this state, we have no thought. Our brain is not working. We seem soulless.

We are aware of our soul’s existence when we think. Without feelings and thoughts, even the thought of being empty doesn’t exist; at this moment, the state is called “samadhi” or “state of equanimity”. Nothing exists. I gave an example yesterday. Say, I started to meditate at 10 pm. After I adjusted my posture and breathing, it felt like I just meditated for an hour. But when I came to and ended my practice, I found it was 5 am.

When this occurs, it is very likely that I have entered samadhi. If one stays in such a state for 3 hours or more, or, say, starting meditation at 10 pm and ending at 5 am, that is more than 6 hours! This person is remarkable! You may say he is God, Buddha, a superhero or a miracle! Whatever holy titles can be used to honor him. His ability to connect with and perceive the world is outstanding.

Even if you can only enter this state for 2 hours, you are already amazing. Many who practice for life may not enter that state. Many are unable to focus, thinking about things and even jotting them down while meditating. Nowadays all phones come with a voice recorder. If it is too troublesome to write, someone may record their action items. “Grocery shopping later.” “Buy some clothes for the kids.”

After half an hour of meditation, they try to recall what they need to do. This is not meditating, this is being bothered by daily affairs. It is impossible to be liberated. It is another layer of net around you. This isn’t chanjing (meditation), it is chanrao (entwining). It is binding oneself. It contradicts the practice. Some may say, “I need to live a life too.” Indeed, it is a form of living, but of lower quality. Not noble enough. Not the state of great liberation.

To get to the highest state, what is its true foundation? It is our understanding of matters or truths. Say, everyone around you is already married. You are 36 years old and single. Though you are used to being single, your parents and friends are worried about you. Because of them, you feel the urge to get married. Marriage becomes a form of stress. But the more eager you are, the harder it is to find a suitable girl. You are stressed.

So you visualize while meditating: “Please come to me, my dear girl, where are you?” Are you peaceful in such a state? No. You are disturbed and restless. When external pressure clashes with internal hormones, you end up suffering. You will feel pain and agony. “Why haven’t I found a girlfriend yet?” More suffering will follow. Imagine: At 66, an age when many are grandfathers, you have not found a girlfriend yet.

If you finally get married, you probably wouldn’t have parents-in-law, a 66-year-old man marrying a 67-year-old woman. The good thing: There is usually no mother-in-law issue. Though that pressure doesn’t exist, a new pressure comes: You have passed fertile years. When we can’t see through issues, we won’t be liberated. We may end up with more afflictions. Marriage, children, house, clothes, and beauty essentials are the typical necessities we pursue.

How shall I describe? It is like a blurry image of someone looking into a mirror. He decides to play a trick on the child next to him. He made an ugly face. The child saw the ugly image in the mirror. “So scary!” he shouted. A timid one may burst into tears. The man steps forward and apologizes. “I am sorry. I was making an ugly face in the mirror. Are you afraid of the me in the mirror? That is not a real person. All the scary faces and images I make before a mirror aren’t real.”

But if the mirror is of good quality, the images in it look real. Right? Chinese people don’t put huge mirrors in bedrooms. Chinese believe placing a huge mirror before the bed is a bad idea. Imagine: You just woke up and want to go to the bathroom. On the way, you saw an image of yourself, maybe you thought it was a ghost. Women tend to wake up with very messy hair. You are shocked by your own image. Because of the fear, you end up not sleeping well. You can’t sleep the rest of the night.

So the image in the mirror not only frightens oneself but also others. A person explains to a child it isn’t real. Why be afraid of something unreal? Issues arise: The scared person gets severe backache due to the fright. The one who scared him is now being sued. The plaintiff claims: “Though he didn’t beat me, the fright caused my severe back pain.” The plaintiff can’t work and inconveniences arise in daily life. So he seeks compensation for income loss and medical bills.

The defendant is suffering from his own joke. Unable to be liberated, he comes to me. “Master, it was meant to be a joke. The image in the mirror is not a reality. It isn’t the real me. Yet he was horrified. He is seeking compensation. I know his salary is very high. Based on his daily cost, I have to pay a large sum of money. Even if I sold my property, it would still not be enough. The medical bills will break me. Mental illness can’t be adequately measured. If he claims against me, I will have to compensate. It never ends, so I am in so much pain. I am suffering from my cheating him with illusions.”

How should I help him liberate from suffering when he seeks my help?

I always commit myself to helping. I wouldn’t have a solution for him right away. I would tell him, “Don’t be afraid to pay. It doesn’t matter. You are 50 this year? In 50 years, I guess he will have no energy to fight in court and neither person will hear and speak clearly. The key is whether the plaintiff is still alive or not.”

The truth I try to convey is: The span of one’s life and that of the image in the mirror differ. Say, our maximum life span is 100 years, while that of the image in the mirror is 3 seconds. The time difference sounds great. But if you let the court case drag on, in 50 years, there will be no court case. No chance for a court case. So the existence of our life is not absolute. Since it isn’t absolute, we can say it is not so real.

My words are also not absolute. Our life, events and actions around them, are also not absolutely real. The scared person wants your compensation today; he may do otherwise tomorrow. His thought at this moment may not last a lifetime. You both may decide to get married tomorrow. It doesn’t matter if the other person is a man or woman, right? You can take this chance to develop a relationship. So instead of compensating him, you may form a family. Matters and their duration aren’t absolutely real.

(Matters and their duration aren’t absolutely real. Only by seeing through the nature of matters can we be liberated.) n nerves and muscles extremely tense.

For many who are present today, we may have at some point in our life, be it yesterday, last year or longer ago, hated somebody intensely. You said, “I hate him so much.” What did you want to do about it? People’s thoughts vary. The intense hatred trapped you in misery and caused you to be hospitalized. Because of the hatred, you refused to make new friends. These are all possibilities. Do you still have the hatred today? If so, is it of the same degree as before? Same as the time when it was at its peak?

I would like you to think about these feelings of resentment and bitterness. Do you still have them 10 years later? As you think now about the inciting event, the resentment in your memory, is it of the same magnitude as 10 years ago? The degree is different. It must have changed. For the more broadminded, the resentment will all be gone after 10 years. Through time, it is slowly erased from memory.

So nothing is absolute. Sometimes upsetting things happen, but they bring us valuable lessons. Whether you are liberated or not, your past experiences, be they of regret, sadness, anger, whatever kind of emotional blow, will bring you good lessons. We will only take it as a lesson if the experience is painful. To us, if a young child loses his parents, he is to be pitied. Right? But the child usually becomes strongly capable of supporting himself.

Children whose parents are alive, especially those whose family is well-off or wealthy, may not develop such ability. Has anybody read the book Rich Dad Poor Dad? I haven’t read the book. But if a child has rich parents, when growing up, he will eat the most nutritious food and attend better schools and have the best education. He may grow up to be polite and understanding. A child of normal ability. But such a child might not be resourceful, creative.

Once his living environment suddenly takes a turn, he loses his money. If his house and the wealth inside it burn, though the monthly salary still exists, he will feel suicidal, or that there is no way out. He will be less able to handle such a crisis compared to a child from a poor family. So even though our experiences were negative and painful, they provided us with valuable lessons. Although we would rather not experience those painful events, they are valuable to us.

What I am conveying here is this: For us to see through and let go of things, we must first understand the true nature of matters. First, the emotions arising from events may be painful. But as time goes on, in 5 or 10 years when we look back, it is actually a happy, good thing. As for me, I am very grateful to Heaven that I come from a relatively poor family. It gives me the motivation to work hard. I am not claiming that I am a genius. I am not.

But because of the environment, we learned to work hard, accept responsibility and think for ourselves. If everything is arranged nicely by our parents, we become less motivated; our brain isn’t challenged, and we may be a little stupid or unable to withstand pressure, think clearly or judge wisely. Many of our potentials are stimulated and developed by our living environments.

I am quite interested in the States. I have learned some American scientists are doing a study in a New York zoo on young tigers. As we know, tigers are carnivores. When a tiger approaches its prey, it presents its majestic nature and cold blood, A tiger, the king of animals, doesn’t eat dead meat. If the prey is already dead and rotting, the tiger avoids it. A tiger eats fresh meat. How fresh? Meat that is running. This is the nature of tigers and leopards.

Scientists took a zoo tiger to the African plain. This tiger ran slower than a boar. It was unable to capture its prey. It stopped running after a while. The scientists dared not let it roam freely. They brought it back and threw some chickens at it. It captured the chickens. I guess these chickens had been given local anesthetic. The tiger captured and ate them.

This tiger was of the same breed as those in the wild, but in a zoo environment, especially an American one, it was better fed than humans, right? That tiger doesn’t need to work for its food. He is well-treated, never abused. So it moves very slowly. Living in such a comfortable environment, it won’t survive in the wild. It won’t be able to capture its prey, such as deer, goat, horse and boar.

Given 2 tigers, with the patience of the scientists, one tiger was stimulated and guided to live in the wild. It took 2 years of training this tiger before it relearned its innate ability to hunt. The tigers were of the same breed without any difference or imperfection. There is a parallel with humans. Under different circumstances, those from better environment, have the best education, consume good food and diets, interact with higher social status people, may not be growing up and have adequate life skills.

Because life is never smooth sailing. Say you have a partner today, and then you separate, the deeper you love, the more intense the suffering. I guess that 10% of the audience were slightly upset by breakups. About 35% were gravely upset. 8% had suicidal thoughts because of breakups. The rates are high, right? People who have suicidal thoughts during first breakup will not feel much after the 10th. You might even have more food after the breakup. Overjoyed, right? This is called immunity.

In terms of emotions, another breakup may sound unpleasant. But the person’s vitality has improved. Hasn’t it? With an improved vitality, he can accept union and separation. He is used to it, right? After 50 attempts, he will not feel too much about it. You are still in bed when the other party leaves. “You are leaving? OK. I won’t see you off. Do visit when you are free. We are friends after all. At least, we lived under one roof. We are still friends.” You open a shop, you can offer her a discount if she pays a visit as you are still friends. No more affliction left.

The deeper the love, the greater the hatred. Besides sadness, there will also be hatred. Forget about a discount at his store, it will be strange if he doesn’t kill you. But after the 50th breakup, you will give him a discount. He was your ex-boyfriend. So you will give him a 10% discount. A non-ex will get a 20% discount. You still take some revenge, right? There is no more feeling.

Let’s put aside if the emotions are sensible. We would rather talk about our ability to live life. When we experience something negative, it may not be a bad thing. Right. In Northern China, people grow wheat. Normally, it is planted in autumn after the harvest of other crops. The harvesting period is summer of the following year. Say, if I plant the wheat in 2013’s autumn, it will be harvested in June-July 2014. I. have known this since I was a kid. I used to ask the adults why they planted during autumn.

When the weather is not too cold, the wheat usually starts to germinate. When it has grown to 10 cm high, the weather turns cold and it starts to snow. Temperature is below zero. The snow covers the wheat fields. I used to worry the young shoots would freeze to death. The adults told me, “Don’t worry. We want the cold to stimulate the plant. In the coming spring, these plants will grow much stronger.” Such wheat, when made into flour, is the best tasting. If the wheat didn’t go through the harsh winter, without the stimulation from the cold weather, it wouldn’t be as tasty.

Among writers, I most admire an author who is from Europe or the United States, who writes science fiction about a futuristic world. Her 4th book is called Divergent. Have any of the English-speakers read the book Divergent? Anybody? It is quite interesting. The author was 24-year-old. Her novels became popular and were made into a series of movies. You may want to read it, Divergent. It is about people with different ideas and thoughts.

The novelist, at only 24, was able to write so well. Why am I surprised and full of praise? What could a 24-year-old have experienced in life? Probably only schooling. Without much life experience of ups and downs and obstruction, but she was able to write so well, and produce bestsellers. People love them. It is quite remarkable. A good piece of creation, be it artwork, book, story, architecture or fashion, requires the creator’s life experience. The creation will be more mature and perfect, offering things or knowledge that are worth pondering over.

A story or a novel must have captured the essence of the life experience of the author. Without this life experience, yet able to write so well, this person is extraordinary! So regardless of our experiences, ups and downs, good or bad, they are very valuable to us. Don’t avoid them as they are valuable. Hence, our present judgment on a matter, be it good or bad, at this moment whether we feel this event is sad or not, in 2 years, we might have a different feeling. It may be the opposite or at least be different.

Nothing is absolute, even the existence of humans. I think life is not so real. Some scientists or astronomers have boldly imagined: The existence of our solar system, the Earth including the development and survival of the human race, our individual existence, happiness, sadness, sorrow and joy, are like a continuous movie, not a reality. Even the existence of our solar system is an illusion. Has anybody heard of this opinion? The existence of our solar system is God’s illusion. Not real.

Today your excruciating pain may be unnecessary. Let me give an example. A man lost money in business. He borrowed $10 million from his friends and lost it in his business investment. He was in pain and under a lot of stress. He had little money left. Initially, he had a couple millions, but he wanted more. So he borrowed from his friends and invested $10 million. But it failed. The money was put into property development. He failed to sell the units upon completion.

Such stories abound all over the world. Many have ventured into real estate, they bought land and built the property, but there were no buyers. As a result, he lost his money and was in despair. Someone recommended he try his luck at the casino. On top of being smart in general, he was also a genius in mathematics. Good-looking as well. “Why don’t you try your luck?” There was no way out for him. He was enticed for a couple of days.

Subsequently he went there to “observe”.

He borrowed several hundred thousand dollars. After 3 days of observing, he exclaimed that he had found a place where he could make a fortune. At a casino, there are many gaming methods. He found one. Smart as he was, he made some calculations. He concluded this gaming method was a sure bet. After 7 days, he won $20 million. With $300,000, he made $20 million. Would you like to clap or cheer for him? Hold on. The interesting part is coming up.

He told his wife about it when he went home. His wife said, “Oh! “My husband is the most blessed man. Heaven will look after you.” The wife continued, “My dear, your good blessing might be linked to my grandma. She used to give offerings to Buddha, burned incense, accumulated virtues. Essentially your blessing was brought about by me.” The wife started expressing, “I am the source of your blessing. Although money was given to you, it was brought about by the merits and virtues accumulated by my ancestors. My chanting played a part too.”

She started thinking about how to spend the new fortune. Good friends started to congratulate him. From a loser to winning $20 million the story seems like a fairy tale. He is like a gambling god, winning $20 million. Poor friends previously all came to him. Even the debtors came to say, “You don’t have to pay me back, we are good friends.” When a person is rich, it is easier for him to borrow more. Debtors even write off the debt. It is really strange!

Such a glorious result through gambling made him, 7 years later, lose approximately over $200 million. The gambling debt he accumulated recently was caused by the $20 million he won earlier. At the time when he won that much money, everybody cheered for him. He didn’t foresee the pain and sorrow that ensued. It is hard to clear this debt.

There are lots of things happening today at this very moment. That is at the right time and place, in this exact time-space, and so it happens. Say, I make money. I am happy. Our mood and feelings are delighted. We feel confident and proud. Anyway, it is happiness. Say, right now, I lost money. I was this gambler. Through a friend’s recommendation, I went into a casino. I borrowed $300,000, but I lost all the money. I became sad and sorrowful. After that I decided I shouldn’t go to the casino anymore. So is this a good thing or a bad thing? (Good thing.) Yes, this is a good thing.

Thus most, not all, things that make us feel good at this moment may not bring us a good result. At this moment, things that bring us negative and painful experiences may bring us long-lasting peace and happiness in the future. Thus, all our attachments, based on such foundation can be taken as fake or relatively unreal. In Chinese, ‘xu’ doesn’t mean empty, but existing. In Chinese martial arts, the front fist exerts faux power. When I hit, I am actually using the real power of the other fist. The fist in front is faux power. Also for standing squat, the front leg is slightly bent with faux power, while kicking uses the real power of the back leg. Hard to tell if it is real or unreal.

Many things are interchanged between the two. What makes you happy may be drugs. What gives you happiness and pleasure could be hell. So I went to a casino to experience the gambling life there. I sighed, because the person who paid for our hotel room, was even accompanied by me, an auspicious person, yet he lost $200,000 that night. I haven’t seen him again since. I tried to contact him several times, but he was too embarrassed. For 7 to 8 years, he has avoided me.

But I felt guilty too because the room that I stayed in was offered to him as a VIP privilege by the casino. This VIP is “very ignorant person”. Don’t worry, they don’t understand. Well, he became a sorrowful loser. I stayed in that room and had a few bowls of free noodles. The cost was put in his name. VIPs had a free room and meals. So I felt guilty. He told me if at 5 am he was still at the casino, that meant he had won. If I was unable to reach him after 6 am, that meant he had lost. He lost in the end, as he predicted.

He’d check with me if he went out. I felt responsible as his master. “When I leave my house, should I step out with my left or right foot first?” I said, “The highest state is to step out with both feet. Jump your way out. Since you don’t want to live better.” He even asked which pair of glasses he should wear. Black, red or blue frame? I said, “No need for glasses or frame. Just two red eyeballs.” He was so detailed and attached at that moment.

He is quite a nice person in general. At times, when people take the wrong path, their obsession is strange. People tend to be more attracted to bad things. When he has noodles in the store, he is reluctant to order side dishes. He said, “Don’t order, it is wasting money.” If his secretary ordered extra pickles, he would be angry for the day. Yet he withdrew $200,000 and lost it all in a night. How could he be not furious?

Although he was rich, he led a low-profile life. He continued wearing his worn-out shoes rather than buying a new pair to save money. However, he donated his savings to that casino. It is indeed funny. Life is full of myriad states. Why is this so? Ignorance. Ignorant, hence fearless. They have no knowledge of truths. Unable to see through to the truth. So he had the nerve to do what he shouldn’t have done: to make himself suffer, to turn a rich man into a pauper, and to make a high official a prisoner. This is what an ignorant man would pursue.

I said so very clearly. But he wasn’t thinking this way at that moment. “Success and more success.” So to be truly serene and free, we should see through and analyze matters in the world. The way to analyze is to take a long-term view. At this moment, I lost my money and I experienced sadness. From a long-term perspective, did I really lose money? “I should avoid this place. I am unable to win in gambling.” He failed to see through this and challenged the casino. Eventually, he failed.

I have met some students in Vancouver and they told me they didn’t want to live anymore. I asked, “Why?” “I gambled away $10,000, $20,000 to $50,000. I want to commit suicide, drive off a bridge or jump off a tall building.” I advised them, “Don’t do it.” These things are indeed attractive at times. So we should begin to see clearly the present suffering may not be a bad thing, but the present happiness could be.

So I leave you an assignment to ponder over. It is not a question but for you to contemplate. If there is a chance for this teaching to be posted on the Internet, you might like to download it. Very important. Whether you are learning Buddhism or Taoism, or neither of them, if you don’t want your life to be afflicted by bad things, and you don’t want to be a pauper but rather have a blessed life, please pay attention and listen carefully to our chat today.

(If we want to see through matters and let them go, we must first understand their true existence and nature.)

Let’s revisit what Grand Meditation Master, Sakyamuni Buddha said: “Form doesn’t differ from emptiness. Emptiness doesn’t differ from form. Emptiness is form and form is emptiness.” This is from The Heart Sutra. It was written this way. Yesterday, I mentioned when I go into a deep meditative state, it is as if I return or belong to the beginning of the Universe. I perceive time-space, the moment of creation, and the revolving future of whole space-time.

I won’t talk about the unpleasant part. Nevertheless, the human race keeps developing. But whatever development, the truth of matters remains the same. Mentioning this, I must read you an excerpt from The Heart Sutra. Try to catch as much as you can. This set of classical sutras is easiest for you to understand: “Bodhi Meditation Sutra Collection” It contains 4 sutras. The most essential and simplest is The Heart Sutra.

“When the Bodhisattva of Perceiving Freedom was coursing in the deep Perfection of Wisdom, he perceived that all 5 aggregates are empty.” “Perceived” may mean through visualization. Maybe in that deep meditative state, it is as if some profound light manifests saying everything is nonexistent. “Thus overcame all ills and suffering. Sariputra.” It is a life state.

So what is “Sariputra”? It describes the true nature of matters. “Form doesn’t differ from emptiness; emptiness doesn’t differ from form. Form is emptiness; emptiness is form. The same is true of feeling, perception, volition and consciousness. Sariputra, all dharmas are characterized by emptiness. There is no arising, no ceasing, no defilement, no purity, no increasing and no decreasing. Therefore, in emptiness there is no form.”

“No feeling, perception, volition, consciousness. No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind. No form, sound, smell, taste, touch or mind object. No eye realm, until we come to no realm of consciousness; no ignorance and no ending of ignorance, until we come to no old age and death and no ending of old age and death. There is no suffering, no origin or cessation of suffering, no Way. There is no wisdom, and no attainment whatsoever.”

“Because there is nothing to be attained, the Bodhisattva relying on Prajna Paramita, has no obstruction in mind. Because there is no obstruction, no fear, and far beyond confused delusions, and reaches Ultimate Nirvana. All buddhas of past, present and future, by relying on Prajna Paramita, have attained Supreme Enlightenment.”

This is the true content of the sutra, which is very similar to what I spoke about here. Let me explain further. May I ask, what are the “5 aggregates”?

Form, feeling, perception, volition and consciousness. Right. Let’s not only talk about spiritual matters. These are all referring to our body’s senses and consciousness. “Form” means physical existence. “Feeling” refers to our senses. Say, what you see or hear. You smell and touch. All these are senses. “Perception” means thoughts. “Volition” is action, the act of willing. “Consciousness” means thoughts and responses.

“Form doesn’t differ from emptiness; emptiness doesn’t differ from form. Form is emptiness; emptiness is form.” To better illustrate these concepts, there is yang in yin and yin in yang. In good, there is bad, and bad could bring out the good. I tried to explain this earlier. What we assume to be good may not be good after all. What we assume to be bad may actually be good. Sometimes it is like this. The key is what wisdom we use to look at matters. When we see through things, then we truly let them go.

What Sakyamuni Buddha explained here are various aspects of matters. Given the mindsets of ordinary people, we aren’t able to judge properly. It is difficult to judge between the good and the bad. What is seen as good today may not be good. What seems bad today may be good after all. How can we have the right perception? Through your senses, perceptions, actions and consciousness.

When I am meditating, I feel very comfortable. What about tomorrow? When you meditate, do you try to pursue yesterday’s comfort? May I ask if this is right or wrong? English-speakers? (Wrong.) It is wrong. You are insightful. Very wise. So today when we meditate and experience comfort, our natural instinct is to pursue it tomorrow. Such pursuits are wrong with regard to enlightenment.

You feel comfort in meditation today and seek it tomorrow. Once you have this desire to pursue good feelings and comfort, you will surely not become enlightened. Because when you start to pursue such comfort, this feeling will create a type of spirit, to describe in my own words, it will become a spirit or devil that draws you to it. In the end, you will be severely hurt.

The comfort we talk about is not the conventional kind, like that of massage or touch between lovers. It is the comfort we experience in meditation. If that is what you are after, you will deviate and won’t be able to see the truth of natural laws. If so, are we then pursuing suffering? May I ask? Are we pursuing suffering? What are we after? Desirelessness? Doing nothing? We should pursue a macroscopic vision. A great goal is liberation. This is what you should be after. Liberation is also enlightenment.

Hence we shouldn’t be pursuing those good feelings, nor seeking physical suffering or self-punishment to gain enlightenment, that is definitely wrong. Some might pursue enlightenment through painstaking meditation, such as meditating with one leg standing or sitting on ice. You would probably end up frozen before attaining enlightenment. We can’t go for the extremes. You must be clear on your ultimate goal. What is it? That is enlightenment.

What is enlightenment? Understanding. A classic answer. You answer, speak loudly. Let go of self-attachment. You are profound and mysterious! What does “let go of self-attachment” mean? A wine glass? (As Master said, pursue bigger goals and give up smaller goals.) Not bad. Worthy of a prize. Very good. It is to pursue bigger goals. No attachments to smaller senses. Let the insignificances occur naturally. No deliberate intention to hold on or pursue. This is the most important.

In the Chinese classical novel Journey to the West, Zhu Bajie always dwells on trivial matters. When arriving at a place with many beautiful women, he said, “Master, let’s start a family there. Alright? Here are so many pretty girls and limitless wealth here. We can be the bosses here. Why keep suffering on our quest for Buddhist sutras? Isn’t it our goal to have a better life? We can amass fortune without having to travel far.”

While we are searching for our greatest goal on the spiritual path, we encounter many things we attach to, such as the feeling of ease and comfort. Or during meditation, you feel the sweetness in your mouth. “I hope to have this sweet taste again.” Or “My skin is smooth and glowing, so I will keep practicing to maintain my beauty.” As a result, your skin may age faster than anyone else’s because you have forgotten the original goal you pursue. Whatever you pursue will certainly hurt you deeply. To forget the great vision on your path is a big mistake.

You should have understood what I have said. Right? Because it is a concept, it is really not easy to describe. Usually we may understand it, but it is hard to convey it. Now we understand our attachment to good or bad on all matters will affect our emotions and perceptions. That is wrong; the attachment is unreal. This unreality has almost blinded all humans.

Almost all the children, especially those growing up in a Chinese family, experience strict parenting. It is common for boys to be spanked by their parents. Those who were spanked before, raise your hand please. Parents spanked you because you were mischievous. When being spanked, you must have felt terrible. You feel good when being praised.

Children who are frequently spanked, sometimes lack creativity when growing up. Some of them become absolutely obedient. Relatively, the benefit is they tend to conform with society. Those who were spanked must have resisted and felt defensive. But those mischievous boys, without strict parenting, might have taken a devious path. Perhaps they wouldn’t live such a good life today. So although you felt angry and defensive then, you should thank your parents for being strict.

In China, either during the Qing dynasty or the modern day, there was a very unusual event that happened. A criminal was sentenced to death penalty because he had committed multiple homicides. He was caught and convicted. He was to be beheaded. Before his execution he asked to see his mother for the very last time. The judge granted it as it was his final wish. In China, convicts sentenced to death are normally allowed to have a feast before the execution.

The mother went to see him. There was already a crowd at the execution spot. The son spoke, “Mother, I have a last request.” “What is it?” the mother asked. Breastfeeding was very common in China before. “Mother, may I have your breast milk for the very last time?” “Yes, of course, my poor son.” Said his mother. When the mother offered her breast, he bit off a piece of her flesh.

He said, “Mother, I hate you! I will be executed today. When I took this bad path, why didn’t you try to save me and intervene earlier? You could have scolded me, caned me, used any form of punishment, so your son wouldn’t have turned out this way. I am still so young, but I will be executed for my sins. So I hate you.” The mother also died. I suppose she was not bitten to death; rather, she died of anger. This story spread throughout China for a long time. That is how I heard it. It is a true story.

So we must learn to see through the good and the bad. Today’s discussion is “See through, and let go.” If I were to add a few more words, they would be “so that we can enter a deep meditative state.” If we don’t see through to the truth, even we say “I want to be peaceful”, it is hard to achieve it. If you can meditate for an hour without looking at the phone or SMS, it is pretty good already.

Say, you meditated well for 15 days. After the retreat, your body felt great. But when you encountered trouble at work or unhappy interactions with family members, anger bubbled up. Afflictions and conflicts still arise in life. You begin to get angry and start attaching. You may even start to gamble. You might say, “Through meditation, I have gained a lot of intelligence. So I can gamble like a gambling god. I can now see through cards.” It is an advantage when playing mahjong, right? So in order to win at a casino, you are practicing meditation hard. Your intention is wrong.

So you need to see through worldly matters to the truth and then you could let go of those things you are attached to. Without seeing through the matters, how are you going to let go? What would you let go? You should let go of broken stuff or garbage, right? But within the truths, you may also have to let go of those “wows” such as prosperity, wealth, wonders, even if it is romance, or love. You may also have to let go of what others consider to be the finest and most desirable.

When you recognize the true nature of matters, you will discover that the finest things the masses pursue are not necessarily good. It is only when we realize the truth that we can let go of all we have been clinging to, so that we can reach a light and calm state. With a light and calm, liberated heart and mind, we naturally let go of our burdens. With that, we can “walk on snow without trace”. That is, we walk on the snow without leaving footprints. This is merely a metaphor. No one walks like this. So we can be without pressure or confinement.

The eventual goal of learning meditation is to attain ultimate freedom and happiness. Without liberation, happiness is temporary. One moment you get happiness, the next will be suffering. They exist in opposites and in contradictions. I am direct. This is my understanding. If what you pursue is happiness, you will surely suffer pain. You also pursue pain through certain actions, but you actually attain happiness.

Take meditation as an example. As you just started meditating, your legs will hurt and your waist will feel sore. But you persevere. Learn to persist. If you meditate continuously for 400 hours, your happiness and wisdom will be incomparable. You may even become a sage. So we need to persist despite some pain. But we should learn to let go of some happiness.

This may not mean discard it. If there is a beautiful flower here, we would admire it and let it go. Right? You let it go after appreciating it. You are not supposed to steal the flowers home from the meditation center as you find them beautiful. Right? It isn’t that we don’t see or appreciate beauty. In fact, we appreciate it more. But what is the relationship between me and beautiful things? It is about not being attached to owning them.

“This is very good. I will take it home. That is very good too. I will take it home. I can’t take that good one, it is better to write my name on it.” All of us attempt to own more. A feeling of ownership. If we can’t bring something home, we still like to have our name on it. At least we own it mentally. Once we have ownership, we will have loss.

The ever-pursued wondrous happiness may bring affliction and sorrow. To reap more benefit, we risk losing money. For greater profits, the danger of bankruptcy lies ahead. Knowing the law of unity of opposites, how do you view matters?

(Only if we see through to truth of the matters and let go of attachment can we obtain ultimate liberation and happiness.)

We always hope to leave suffering and gain happiness. In Chinese, the views on “leave suffering and gain happiness” vary from person to person. In the first stage, we learn to leave suffering. After leaving suffering, we can enjoy happiness; we are relaxed and at ease. I feel we are very happy.

Say, I was meditating, a child asked, “Master, are you happy?” I said, “Not bad, I am quite happy.” “You are happy. Is it because you ate candy while meditating?” I replied, “No.” He said, “I will be happy if I have candy.” I said, “I am very happy just sitting here.”

The child’s father came over and asked me, “Master, you have been sitting here for a long time. Are you lonely?” I said, “I am happy in solitude.” “Don’t you feel chilly sitting here?” I said, “I am happy because of the chill.” His wife said, “He has brain freeze.”

We define differently what is good or bad, happiness and affliction. Many immigrants from China, Hong Kong or Taiwan, Asia’s most densely populated area, to Canada or the USA, especially those to Canada, have suffered depression after they immigrated. Right? Why depression? One said, “When I stared out the window for a whole day, I only saw 2 people.” In China, there would be 200 people passing by every moment.

So in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, there are more McDonald’s than chicken coops. They are located within 50 meters with each other. Why? Because McDonald’s are always busy. Even 50 meters apart, at noon, every McDonald’s has a queue of at least 500 people. So a man was not exhausted because of working too hard, but because of counting too much money that caused his arms to sore. There was more money to be made due to the huge population.

After I moved here, many people asked me if I felt lonely. My response: “I am very happy.” “I am so lonely.” “Why?” “I have no relatives here.” I said, “You don’t have to worry about lending money to others.” “I have no friends here.” “You have no one to bother you.” “You don’t feel lonely at all?” “Ah, this is preciously rare solitude.” “Loneliness makes you sick.” “You forget what the Chinese emperors call themselves: I am the loner, I am the boss!”

“You need to enjoy solitude. Solitude is a concept that exists in the spiritual mind. Solitude was the feeling the emperor enjoyed.” Why did he call himself the loner? “No one has the same mental state as mine over the world. It is like that of the Sun. There is only one sun under this sky. I am the one and only, and that is why I am lonely. Nobody can understand my mind. That is why I call myself the loner.”

Being alone is not that nobody cares. Rather, there are no common interests. I discuss world events yet you talk about spinach. You talk about cooking and sewing. Nothing that I am interested in. Solitude, it isn’t a bad thing. Rather, it is whether you can enjoy solitude.

When you are with many people, be it in the office or at home, you have to learn to live with the chaotic mess. Even when you are rushing to the office and find only one sock, no big deal, just wrap the other foot in a handkerchief. Think about your great grandfather, he never saw socks, he still became your great grandpa! You have gained freedom. Do you know this? Don’t be too concerned over trivial matters. Thus, we create our own perceptions of matters. I can only guide you regarding this mental state and understanding. There is nothing absolutely bad or good in the world. Even if there is, it is people who perceive so.

A few years ago, I used to visit Burnaby Mountain Park in this city. I went there to enjoy the North Shore Mountains. Very often I came across cars decorated with blue and white flowers driving up the slope. The people wore white and blue yarn too. I thought they were there to say goodbye.

Finally, someone told me, “Master, they are getting married.” “Why do they use blue flowers during a wedding?” “Different customs, Master. You are like a country bumpkin.” Finally I got used to those blue flowers for a wedding.

Now, I am here in Taiwan, I don’t know why they are carrying white flowers blue or even red flowers. All inclusive. It was a melting pot of Eastern and Western culture. Regardless of the color of flowers, I would ask: “Is this a farewell or a marriage?” You have to clarify first. I have encountered so much sensory stimuli. Don’t use your preconceived ideas to judge matters.

Say, if you are back in China to attend a wedding, dare you give blue flowers as a gift to the couple, you probably won’t live to see the sunrise tomorrow. Perhaps this is our Chinese customs only. In some Western countries, blue flowers represent happiness. So the flowers become happiness. So it is people who determine whether something is good or bad. It also depends on the person’s cultural background, traditions, customs and history. These shape our perceptions.

Some issues are more straightforward. Say, a father passed away from an accident. This must be bad news, right? Not necessarily. If you are already 80 years old, is your father still alive? Assuming we are 80 years old today, our father has already gone, right? It is only a matter of whose father will leave first. But we have deep feelings about this. We certainly choose “existence”.

At this center and to this hall, a few years ago, a lady from the USA came She was in her late 50s, almost 60. What her illness was severe depression. What caused her illness? Her beloved father. She had only one elder brother. Doting on her, her father had managed her life since birth, from her going to the States for further study, to finding a spouse, to buying a house and looking for a job. He hired someone to take care of her remotely.

She came to see me 10 years after her father passed away. He died of cancer, at a ripe old age. He was very old when he died. But the daughter suffered depression as a result. Overwhelmed with grief. Do you know why? How did the daughter’s illness occur? Too much love from her father. Her father was a very compassionate father. But he was not a wise father, right? He didn’t nurture his child’s independence to make a living, and to survive.

Regardless of how much love, how close they were. It is love between 2 generations. One person has to go first. It is important to deliberately cultivate appropriate out-of-home experience, to gain exposure to life outside. Sooner or later, children will have to fly independently. Don’t let your parents pave your path for you. So parents should have the vision of training their children to live independently, and also give them confidence to live life, tenacity, the capability to make a living, interpersonal skills, life skills, and the ability to work.

So let me remind all karmic-bonded fellow practitioners, both men and women: If you aren’t too old, you should be able to manage well both at home and at work, and play on the computer. When we cook at home after work, we are adjusting and fine-tuning our thoughts. Cook for your loved ones, children and parents. Demonstrate your love through action. It is happiness.

(The good or bad of matters is not absolute. If we can see through matters, we will be happier.)

I am very casual as I teach this. But I find it difficult to talk about this aspect. Not easy. Whether you understand or not, perhaps you will want to listen to or watch this talk a few more times. You will have a better understanding of the nature and origin of matters. You will naturally choose wisely. You will be clear about whether you should attach to a matter or let it go.

It is when our thinking becomes one with true spirit that we can achieve serenity. We won’t panic, or do stupid things we really shouldn’t do. Because we only have one goal, which is to leave suffering. Our second goal is to gain happiness. It is serenity in solitude, in giving, and in the present world we exist in.

Chinese people all know well the phrase “go with the flow”. What does it mean? Say, I have a chance encounter with a group of people on a bus and we may spend 8 hours together. Let me remind you, based on my experience, not to ignore the one next to you, alright? Be sure to say hi: “Sir, where are you from?” If he doesn’t want to talk, you say, “I am from Vancouver.” Tell him your name and say, “Nice to meet you.”

Why greet the person? Based on my experience, In case you dropped your wallet on the chair. Right? He doesn’t know who to look for. You might encounter robbery, right? If you are familiar with him, you may fight the robbers together. If the bus breaks down, you can help fix the bus. If the bus couldn’t move, we’d freeze to death. So we need to accept life as we find it. “Abiding” doesn’t mean not leaving but being in the moment. Live your present moment well.

To meet is to be karmic-bonded, we need to cooperate. There are various degrees of cooperation, and you need to manage that. To take things as you find them without affliction is not easy. There are few people who can. Our environment creates many afflictions, disturbing our pure, calm mind. But if you can liberate from such troubles, not be restricted by them, and instead adjust the environment to be better, that is wisdom and true liberation.

Sakyamuni Buddha said that leaving suffering and gaining happiness are 2 different states. Leaving suffering is the preliminary awakening state; gaining happiness is great wisdom. When we discuss the final state of liberation and the great Way, the energy field in this hall expands to be as strong as the Way. We are as wise as the Supreme Enlightened being. Wisdom is the largest energy. The biggest liberation is also the largest energy.

So as long as you can listen to this, you will benefit as much as those present. This energy will become tremendous. It will continue to increase today. After listening to today’s class, your illnesses begin to disappear. (Got it.) Troubles begin to disappear. (Got it.) No more craving for food. (Got it.) Greedy people are no longer greedy. (Got it.) Those are in-love now, keeping loving. It is not my business.

Today’s talk will make more people healthy and happy. If something bothered you 2 days ago, today, maybe you are happy all day. The trouble naturally disappeared. Have some of you felt this? (Yes) There must be some. There is a show of hands. Those who watch today’s video will experience this effect. Very special, it is a kind of energy. This energy can be seen occasionally with our eyes. But in most cases it can’t be seen.

When this energy is present and you agree to this truth, you will feel this powerful energy. It is powerful enough to allow you to leave suffering and gain happiness. I also cherish the content of today’s class. I hope my teachings these days help you leave suffering and gain happiness–the great wisdom.

Thank you! I wish you auspiciousness! (Got it!)